[QODLink]
Americas
UN blasts response to Haiti appeal
Less than 10 per cent of requested funds raised amid warning cholera deaths will rise sharply if money not sent soon.
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2010 20:19 GMT

About 20,000 people have been treated in hospitals for the diarrheal disease [AFP]

The UN has said that the international response to the organisation's appeal to collect $164m to help combat Haiti's growing cholera epidemic has been "completely inadequate".

The organisation's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that so far it had received only $5m of the total amount the UN had appealed to governments for a week ago to fight the outbreak.

Nigel Fisher, the UN's humanitarian co-ordinator in the country, said: "While we are very grateful for the contributions received so far, both cash and in-kind, so far we only have received less than 10 per cent of what we need.

"Critical supplies and skills are urgently needed. We need doctors, nurses, water purification systems, chlorine tablets, soap, oral rehydration salts, tents for cholera treatment centres and a range of other supplies."

In just over a month, the epidemic has spread to eight of the country's 10 provinces and about 20,000 people have been treated in hospitals for the diarrheal disease, which can kill in hours through dehydration if not treated quickly.

If people are treated early, they can be easily saved, experts say, adding that speed of response is crucial.

'Vulnerable people'

Imogen Wall, a spokeswoman for the OCHA in Port-au-Prince, the capital, said that the response had been "completely inadequate" and that funds and supplies were badly needed.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Wall said: "I think we still need to make people understand how serious this is.

"We're looking at potentially up to 200,000 cases in a country that cannot cope, a population with no resistance, a health profession that doesn't know how to deal with this.

"I think it's just very hard to make people understand just how serious it is and vulnerable these people are to a terrible but very, very treatable disease."

Al Jazeera's Cath Turner, reporting from Port-au-Prince, said that while the ravages of the epidemic are not yet apparent in the country's capital, the rural areas, which are harder to access by medical workers, have been hit hard by cholera.

The response has also been impeded by recent violence in Cap Haitien, where most of the response to the outbreak has been suspended for the past four days.

The UN has seen a better response to its appeal for aid after January's earthquake in Haiti, with roughly 66 per cent of the $1.5bn needed raised.

The epidemic has already claimed nearly 1,250 lives throughout Haiti, where the UN response plan has focused on the need to improve water quality and sanitation and on building specialised cholera treatment centres.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Referendum on Scottish independence is the first major election in the UK where 16 and 17-year olds get a vote.
Blogger critical of a lack of government transparency faces defamation lawsuit from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Farmers worry about their future as buyers shun local produce and rivers show an elevated presence of heavy metals.
War-torn neighbour is an uncertain haven for refugees fleeing Pakistan's Balochistan, where locals seek independence.
NSA whistleblower Snowden and journalist Greenwald accuse Wellington of mass spying on New Zealanders.
join our mailing list