Haiti and the United Nations are seeking 145 million U.S. dollars for humanitarian relief, including for a cholera outbreak that has killed 161 people, a UN spokesman said on Tuesday.
Early last month, for the first time in more than three and a half years, new cholera cases were detected in the country, said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
“In recent days, there has been an increase in the number and geographical spread of suspected cases,” Haq said. “According to figures from the Ministry of Health released last (Monday) night, there were 8,700 suspected and 800 confirmed cases. So far 161 people have died from the disease.”
He said the most vulnerable people, particularly women, children, the elderly, and the disabled, have been hit hardest by the outbreak. They were already severely impacted by a lack of access to health, food and clean water, malnutrition, poverty, and displacement caused by insecurity and ongoing gang violence.
The spokesman said UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Ulrika Richardson reported that the United Nations and its partners have worked since the first day of the cholera outbreak with the Ministry of Health.
He said that since cholera is just one of many challenges in Haiti, the funds raised would also tackle other urgent humanitarian needs and more deep-rooted structural problems, including human rights violations.
Haq said Richardson also appealed to the international community to increase its support for the response to help save more lives and reach the shared goal of a cholera-free Haiti.
The country, particularly the capital city Port-au-Prince, has been hit by gang fighting that has stalled aid deliveries to Haiti and the distribution of relief stock.