Relief work resumes in Haitian city after riots, UN humanitarian office reports

Most people use the River Artibonite, thought to be the source of the cholera epidemic in Haiti

22 November 2010 – The Haitian city of Cap Haïtien is now calm after several days of riots linked to the cholera outbreak in the Caribbean country, and two United Nations agencies have resumed relief operations in the city, the world body’s humanitarian arm reported today.

Unrest erupted in Cap Haïtien and other areas last week disrupting efforts to respond to the cholera outbreak that has made nearly 20,000 people ill and claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people over the past month. UN agencies had called for an end to the violent protests saying they were undermining the response to the outbreak.

The UN World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) have since the weekend been able to resumes flights to Cap Haïtien and distribute relief supplies, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

Meanwhile, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, will tomorrow travel to Haiti to review the humanitarian response to the cholera outbreak.

Ms. Amos, who is also the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, will meet with government and UN officials, as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations, during her two-day visit.

On Saturday, the top UN humanitarian official in Haiti voiced concern over the slow response to an appeal launched 10 days ago seeking $164 million to curb the spread of the cholera outbreak.

“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,” said UN Humanitarian Coordinator Nigel Fisher.

“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,” he added.


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