UN releases new funds to support cholera response in Haiti during rainy seasonListen /
Haiti is getting US$1.5 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to respond to cholera. 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.
The additional allocation was announced by Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos.
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.
OCHA Operations Director John Ging said "Cholera has claimed over 8,100 lives and infected over 660,000 people since the outbreak began in Haiti in 2010", adding "It is vital that we do not allow more lives to be lost."
He said "Much more needs to be done. "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."
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.
Acting Humanitarian Coordinator for Haiti Sophie de Caen, said "The CERF contribution is greatly appreciated, but we cannot rely upon the CERF as a primary funding source. I urge donors to increase their support to these critical activities".
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.
This is Donn Bobb reporting.