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Thousands of children are at risk as an outbreak of cholera spreads throughout the Dominican Republic. Dozens of lives have been lost and thousands of people have been sickened. Reported cholera cases are also up in neighboring Haiti, following the 2010 outbreak which killed thousands of people. The return of the rainy season has sparked the resurgence of the deadly waterborne disease.
The cholera outbreak underscores the dire living conditions facing children and families across Haiti and Dominican Republic. Dirty drinking water and poor sanitation spread the disease. Crowded housing – many families live in tents or make-shift shanties – makes matters even worse.
Left unchecked, children - especially babies and toddlers - stricken with cholera and watery diarrhea can die within hours due to organ failure caused by dehydration. Many children in impoverished nations, such as the Dominican Republic and Haiti, are already weakened by malnutrition and are at even higher risk.
We have seen promising results from our cholera response in Haiti - saving lives and relieving the suffering of children and families. Over 740 severely ill children and adults were given emergency care at our cholera treatment centers in Haiti. Thousands more benefitted from our health education, hygiene, clean water and sanitation projects.
So much more needs to be done. The good news is, we know simple solutions work.
Save the Children is working nonstop to help prevent the outbreak from spreading. We are urgently seeking support for cholera prevention and education to reach children and families in Haiti and in the Dominican Republic. The most basic cholera treatment costs a mere 20 cents – that means your gift of $100 could help save up to 500 lives!