PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Fourteen-month-old Abigail Charlot survived Haiti's cataclysmic earthquake but not its miserable aftermath. Brought into the capital's General Hospital with fever and diarrhea, little Abigail literally dried up.
"Sometimes they arrive too late," said Adrien Colimon, the chief of pediatrics, shaking her head.
The second stage of Haiti's medical emergency has begun, with diarrheal illnesses, acute respiratory infections and malnutrition beginning to claim lives by the dozen.
And while the half-million people jammed into germ-breeding makeshift camps have so far been spared a contagious-disease outbreak, health officials fear epidemics. They are rushing to vaccinate 530,000 children against measles, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough.
"It's still tough," said Chris Lewis, emergency health coordinator for Save the Children, which by Tuesday had treated 11,000 people at 14 mobile clinics in Port-au-Prince, Jacmel and Leogane.
Haiti's government raised the death toll for the Jan. 12 earthquake to 230,000 on Tuesday — the same death toll as the 2004 Asian tsunami. Communications Minister Marie-Laurence Jocelyn Lassegue said she expects the toll to rise as more bodies are counted, and noted the number does not include bodies buried privately by funeral homes or families.
The number of deaths not directly caused by the quake is unclear; U.N. officials are only now beginning to survey the more than 200 international medical aid groups working out of 91 hospitals — most of them just collections of tents — to compile the data.
Some 300,000 people are injured. At Port-au-Prince's General Hospital, patients continue arriving with infections in wounds they can't keep clean because the street is their home.