UN emergency fund allocates extra $1.5 million for cholera response in Haiti

At a camp for displaced persons in Port au Prince, Haiti, residents get bleach and water purification tablets which are used in cholera prevention. Photo: UN/MINUSTAH/Logan Abassi

18 July 2013 – The United Nations emergency relief fund will allocate an additional $1.5 million to the cholera response in Haiti, at a time when cases are set to rise due to 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 the Operations Director of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), John Ging.

“It is vital that we do not allow more lives to be lost.”

The latest allocation brings the total amount provided this year by the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for emergency cholera response in Haiti to $4 million.

“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.”

According to OCHA, 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.

“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.”

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has also recently announced a further $1 million for the cholera response. However, more funds are needed as out of the $34.5 million requested by humanitarian organizations in 2013, only $5.7 million has been received so far.

The $1.5 million is part of CERF's allocation of $72 million to neglected crises in 12 countries. The rest of the funds will provide vital humanitarian aid in Bangladesh, Chad, Colombia, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Madagascar, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger, Pakistan, the Philippines and Somalia.

CERF, which is managed by OCHA, is one of the world's largest sources of humanitarian funding, and every year a third of all its funds is set aside for underfunded emergencies to help even out disparities between aid appeals. Since 2006, nearly a third of the $3 billion allocated from CERF has gone to neglected crises in more than 40 countries.

CERF is funded by voluntary contributions from UN Member States, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local governments, the private sector and individual donors.


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