“I deeply regret the loss of life and suffering. I wish it could have been avoided,” said Ban on Saturday, while visiting areas devastated by the hurricane.
He said Hurricane Matthew added to “the misery,” stating that it has “raised the risk of disease transmission.
“The United Nations is intensifying actions on cholera,” Ban said. “We are stepping up efforts to contain cholera and ensure all have access to clean water, sanitation and health systems.”
On Thursday, at UN Headquarters in New York, Deputy UN Secretary-General Jan Eliasson briefed Member States on the issue, saying the first track of the new UN approach to tackling cholera involves intensifying efforts to treat and eliminate the disease.
He said the second track aims to develop a framework proposal to Member States for material assistance to those Haitians most affected by cholera after the 2010 outbreak.
Ban also THAT he was pressing the international community for support on both fronts.
“We must fulfil our moral duty,” he underscored, pledging to “work hard to ensure that the world remembers – and acts.”
Eliasson who briefed member states said there could be no discussion of cholera situation in Haiti without taking into account the devastating impact of Hurricane Matthew, which had left millions of Haitians on the southern coast of the island in “dire and desperate need of humanitarian assistance.”
Eliasson praised Haiti’s leadership for the action thus far and hailed the “strength, resilience, and resourcefulness of the Haitian people,” while simultaneously emphasizing the need for support from Member States.
He went on to reaffirm the compassion and solidarity of the United Nations with the people of Haiti, reassuring the nation that the UN would act with the greatest possible speed to bring assistance.
“We must convey to them that our approach to the hurricane and to cholera includes a commitment to help forge long-term solutions. We must deal with the underlying problems of poverty and fragility that make each successive shock so much more damaging,” he said.
The UN said, so far, the Flash Appeal launched Monday by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has requested nearly US$120 million in order to provide food, shelter, water and emergency sanitation over the next three months for the 750,000 people most impacted by the hurricane.
Many of these people are in hard-to-reach areas, the UN said.
The UN also said water and sanitation infrastructures have been destroyed, prompting a need for quick and early action – especially to prevent the spread of cholera.
So far, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) (has scaled up with a recent Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) oan, and World Health Organization (WHO) has sent one million vaccinations against cholera for immediate use.
The UN says the risk of cholera, makes the body’s new approach to Haiti all the more urgent and requires two tracks – that of building resilience to the disease and the other is a framework proposal to Member States in order to acquire material assistance to those in Haiti most affected by the 2010 cholera outbreak.
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