In the Haitian city of Gonaives, freshly dug pits at the back of the main cemetery are filling up with dozens of victims. In the capital, Port-au-Prince, hospitals are fast becoming emergency clinics. And in remote villages across much of the country, no one knows how many are dying.
"Un pil moun" is all anyone can say. "A lot of people."
The official number of dead from Haiti's cholera epidemic was around 800 Saturday, but the real count is certainly higher as the water-borne disease stalks mountainous areas where people have to walk hours to the nearest hospital and deaths routinely go unrecorded.
As the epidemic worsened, the United Nations on Friday asked donor nations for $164 million to bring in more doctors, medicines and water-purification systems to fight the spread of the disease, saying it could affect 200,000 people in the earthquake-battered nation. So far, 12,303 cases had been confirmed.
The bacteria quickly dehydrates people as they vomit and expel watery diarrhea, and can kill within four hours. Although treatment is relatively simple — oral rehydration solutions or intravenous fluids — it must be administered quickly.