In Haiti UN appeals for $120 million to launch ‘massive response’ in storm-ravaged Haiti

The hurricane has left at least 1000 dead, according to Reuters. Haiti has started burying victims in mass graves as cholera spreads in the devastated southwest.

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play On 9 October 2016 in Les Cayes, Haiti, several hundered people who have lost their homes shelter in a neighbourhood high school. (UNICEF/Roger LeMoyne)
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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced the launch of a near $120 million appeal to fund United Nations aid activities in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti.

The hurricane has left at least 1000 dead, according to Reuters. Haiti has started burying victims in mass graves as cholera spreads in the devastated southwest.

The hurricane was the strongest to hit the Caribbean in almost 10 years. It hit the developing nation a week ago with 145 mile-per-hour (233 kph) winds and torrential rains that left 1.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

The country, with a population of about 10 million is the poorest in the Americas. The official death toll sits at 336, while officials visit each village to confirm the numbers.

Reuters reports it had been quoted various numbers in different areas from officials, which the news agency tallied.

It was quoted 522 people dead in Grand'Anse. A tally of deaths reported by mayors from 15 of 18 municipalities in Sud Department on the south side of the peninsula showed 386 people there. In the rest of the country, 92 people were killed, Reuters found.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has expressed concerned about the threat of waterborne diseases to children living in the worst-affected areas.

“Hundreds have died. At least 1.4 million people need assistance at this time. Some towns and villages have been almost wiped off the map. Crops and food reserves have been destroyed. At least 300 schools have been damaged,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

He said the numbers of those impacted and the needs are growing as more affected areas are reached.

Moreover, tensions are already mounting as people await help. “A massive response is required,” he said, adding that UN teams are working with local officials to assess needs.

The $120 million appeal will go towards covering the UN system’s needs for the next three months. Most of it goes to food security, nutrition and emergency agriculture.



According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the appeal targets vulnerable groups in identified priority sectors, and it takes into account the national-level capacities and those of humanitarian partners on the ground.

UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien said funding of the appeal is urgently needed to enable humanitarian actors to respond to people most in need before the situation further deteriorates, including by addressing the risks posed by cholera and other deadly waterborne diseases.

“Families that were fortunate to survive the hurricane now find themselves in a struggle to survive, with thousands of homes and livelihoods washed away by the storm,” he said, recalling that the country was already facing health challenges, including an increase in cases of cholera as well as severe food insecurity, before the hurricane hit.

Meanwhile, UNICEF has warned that overflowing rivers, stagnant waters, and animal and human corpses are perfect breeding grounds for waterborne diseases. “Every day that goes by increases the threat of cholera. We are in a race against time to get to these children before diseases do,” Marc Vincent, UNICEF Representative for Haiti, said in a press statement.

The country has of the highest incidence rates of cholera in the world, almost 10,000 people have died from the disease since 2010 and more than 27,000 suspected cases have been reported so far this year, an estimated one in three of them children.

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