United Nations releases new funds to support cholera response in Haiti during rainy season

Source: OCHA press releases are available at www.unocha.org or www.reliefweb.int

Country: New York

18 July 2013, Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos has announced an additional allocation of US$1.5 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to respond to cholera in Haiti. The additional funding from the CERF’s Underfunded Emergencies Window comes at a crucial time, when cholera cases are set to rise during the rainy season.

“Cholera has claimed over 8,100 lives and infected over 660,000 people since the outbreak began in Haiti in 2010,” said OCHA Operations Director John Ging. “It is vital that we do not allow more lives to be lost.”

The new CERF allocation, which will help humanitarian partners provide treatment in high risk areas, brings the total CERF funding for emergency cholera response in Haiti this year to $4 million. The UN Development Programme has also recently announced a further $1 million for the cholera response. However, more funds are urgently needed. Out of the $34.5 million humanitarian organizations had requested to fund the cholera response in 2013, only $5.7 million has been received so far.

“The CERF contribution is greatly appreciated,” said acting Humanitarian Coordinator for Haiti Sophie de Caen, “but we cannot rely upon the CERF as a primary funding source. I urge donors to increase their support to these critical activities.”

Lack of funding has dramatically decreased capacity to respond to cholera in Haiti. The number of humanitarian organizations engaged in the response has fallen to less than half of what it was in 2012, from 107 to 43, and there is a serious gap in coverage in the north where most new cases are being recorded.

The UN is working with the Haitian Government and civil society to strengthen national capacity, in line with the Secretary-General’s initiative to support the National Plan for the Elimination of Cholera, while also responding to the current outbreak.

“Much more needs to be done,” said Mr. Ging. “We urgently need to alleviate the suffering of those with cholera and prevent the spread of the disease during the rainy season. At the same time, we need donors to make long-term investments in health and sanitation systems to finally end this epidemic.”

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For further information, please contact: George Ngwa Anuongong, OCHA Haiti, ngwaanuongong@un.org , Tel. +509 3702 5192, Devi Palanivelu, OCHA New York, palanivelu@un.org, Tel. +1 212 963 34150, Cell +1917650 9782

OCHA press releases are available at www.unocha.org or www.reliefweb.int