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UN humanitarian efforts under way in Haiti

Xinhua, October 19, 2016 Adjust font size:

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that while humanitarians continue to reach the most affected areas along the southern peninsula, remote inland parts of the country are still difficult to access after it was hit by Hurricane Matthew earlier this month, a UN spokesman told reporters here Tuesday.

OCHA reported that more than 175,000 people are living in 224 temporary shelters, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here, adding that an estimated 116,100 children have their education disrupted.

"Efforts are made to prioritize the clean-up and repair of lightly damaged or undamaged schools to enable children to return to class," Dujarric said.

More than 1.2 million people, including 500,000 children, need safe water and adequate sanitation to help prevent the spread of diseases, especially cholera, he noted. "To meet these needs, water purification tablets were airlifted to provide safe drinking water to about 475,000 people and chlorine is being procured to help local authorities chlorinate piped water systems throughout the country."

A newly established water plant is now providing 300,000 litres of potable water to 20,000 people per day in Jeremie, he said.

Meanwhile, the spokesman said that the UN appeal for Haiti is critically under-funded.

"The United Nations is concerned by the poor donor response to the Flash Appeal launched on 10 October," he said, adding that the 120-million-U.S. dollar appeal which aims to assist 750,000 of the worst affected people over the next three months is critically under-funded with just over 15 million U.S. dollars contributed so far.

"The UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) reports that peacekeepers provided security to four humanitarian convoys that departed Les Cayes earlier today," he said. "UN police and military continue to assist the Haitian National Police in securing humanitarian aid, including when it reaches its intended location."

"A UN military hospital is also now operational in Jeremie and available to provide medical assistance to the population in two locations in Grande Anse," he said.

David Nabarro, the UN secretary-general's special adviser, continues his visit to Haiti, he said. After returning from Jeremie on Monday, Nabarro engaged with members of the donor community.

"Today, he will hold a series of meetings on the cholera situation, including with Haiti's Minister of Health," the spokesman said. "He will participate in a press conference in Port-au-Prince before leaving for New York."

The death toll from Hurricane Matthew rose to 1,000 people as cholera spread in the devastated southwestern part of the small island country, reports said. The strongest hurricane in the Caribbean for years swept through the poverty-stricken country on Oct. 4, with winds reaching up to 230 km/h, flooding towns, downing power lines and cutting people off from accessing food and money.