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Ross Kemp Describes The Horror Of A Cholera Outbreak In Haiti

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Ross Kemp Describes The Horror Of A Cholera Outbreak In Haiti

Ross Kemp has described one of the most horrific situations that he found himself in during his career making documentary films around the globe.

In the aftermath of an earthquake in Haiti, Kemp described how he witnessed body collectors travelling around following an outbreak of cholera and saw the destruction that it wrought on the communities of the Caribbean country.

Kemp was speaking ahead of 'Cheers for Volunteers' - an event asking for Brits to raise a glass to volunteers who gave up their time during the coronavirus pandemic at 5:00pm this Sunday - and opened up about some of the devastation and trauma that he has seen filming shows such as Ross Kemp on Gangs and Ross Kemp: Extreme World.

The former EastEnders star told LADbible: "I was in Haiti for an outbreak of cholera, and - no disrespect to the dreadful scenes that have happened here - I was out with the body collectors just putting people into the back of trucks."

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Kemp has travelled the world making documentary films. Credit: Sky
Kemp has travelled the world making documentary films. Credit: Sky

"I remember being behind a van and I was looking at the feet sticking out of the back of the vehicle.

"Cholera is a bacterial infection, so even after you're dead, whereas a virus may die on someone - and I'm not an expert on viruses by any stretch - bacteria will exist in body cavities long after that person is dead.

"They weren't getting the information out to the general populace was that when the body was being taken away they'd kiss the body, so we'd go back the next day and pick up four more bodies.

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"Unless you block the nose holes with chlorine that has been pushed into cotton wool - and I mean all orifices, a***hole, ears, nose, mouth, everything - they're still infectious.

"It got to the stage where people were pouring petrol into cracks after the earthquake, just to get the stench away.

"The only fat things I saw there were the dogs. So, it's different to what we have experienced."

Obviously, this is just one of the more difficult things that Kemp has witnessed throughout his time making films.

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Naturally, many of those sobering experiences that he has seen have stayed with him.

Many of his harrowing experiences have stayed with him. Credit: Sky
Many of his harrowing experiences have stayed with him. Credit: Sky

"A lot of it sticks with you. You don't go to Afghanistan on and off for five or six years [without it sticking with you]", he continued.

"If you see kids hurt, that will always stick with you, people bleeding out and dying will always stick with you.

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"Mothers crying. If you hear a mother being told or shown the body of her dead son, the sound that the woman generally makes is primeval.

"That's a sound that I've heard a lot. Well, not a lot, but enough times to know when it's coming, and enough times to know that I don't like hearing it."

The cholera outbreak in Haiti following the earthquake was devastating. Credit: PA
The cholera outbreak in Haiti following the earthquake was devastating. Credit: PA

However, some of the things that have happened during the Covid-19 pandemic have offered hope that there is still goodness in humanity, with millions of people going above and beyond to help others, some without pay.

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That's why Kemp is supporting the Royal Voluntary Service's 'Cheers for Volunteers' initiative, and why he'll be raising a glass to those who've given their time selflessly, as well as chairing a special pub quiz for the event.

He explained: "We've been through an awful experience- the world's been through an awful experience - people have lost.

"People have lost loved ones and friends, and in the middle of all that, people who may not in the past have been that generous with their time, or may not have sacrificed their own health, to help other people, did.

"Communities that might not have come together, did.

"If you can maintain 25 percent of that down the road, in the future, then at least something positive will have come from this awful situation."

Kemp will be raising a glass for the UK's army of volunteers. Credit: Royal Volunteer Service
Kemp will be raising a glass for the UK's army of volunteers. Credit: Royal Volunteer Service

"It wasn't just the people who work with the Royal Voluntary Service - 12.4 million that we know came forward - I think more people than that performed acts of kindness or selflessness.

"I think we clapped the NHS, and rightly so, every Thursday during the pandemic, and I just think it would be nice if, at one moment this Sunday [July 4], to raise a glass of beer, or a glass of wine, or a mug of tea."

"Also, go and support your local coffee house, your local café, your local pub or restaurant.

"Because they've had it hard, let's try to get back into those places so that the businesses that have survived can continue to survive.

"It's not asking for people to run a marathon, just say 'Cheers for Volunteers' at 5 o'clock."

Ross Kemp will be raising a glass and saying Cheers for Volunteers this Sunday as part of #ThankYouDay. You can join him LIVE on the Virtual Village Hall Facebook page from 4.40pm on Sunday 4th of July for a quick quiz followed by the Cheers for Volunteers which will take place at 5pm.

Featured Image Credit: Sky

Topics: TV and Film, Celebrity, Interesting, ross kemp, Health, Covid-19

Tom Wood
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