Sunday, December 5, 2010
United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on the international community to provide immediate aid to an impoverished Haiti to fight a deadly cholera epidemic.
He warned that hundreds of thousands of lives were risk.
At an informal meeting of the General Assembly, Ban Ki-Moon noted that the epidemic could affect as many as 650 000 people in the next six months, and that the current toll may already be twice as high as the over 1 800 deaths and nearly 81 000 cases reported so far.
A United Nations appeal launched three weeks ago for US$164 million is only 20 per cent funded as the Haitian government, UN agencies and the humanitarian community seek to provide treatment and put preventive measures in place, supplying water purification materials, carrying out large-scale public information campaigns, and helping to build treatment centres.
One thing is clear, admirable as they may be, these collective efforts are simply not sufficient. Without a massive and immediate international response, we will be overwhelmed. The lives of hundreds of thousands of people are at risk. And it is up to us to act, with maximum speed and full resources, Ban said. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) and its regional arm, the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), estimate that an additional 350 doctors,
2 000 nurses and 2 200 support staff will be required over the next three months, in addition to the 300 medical personnel that Cuba has already committed