October 8th, 2016 08:24 EST
UN to Help Rebuild Haiti After Hurricane Matthew
Hurricane Matthew`s destructive path through the Caribbean dealt a major blow " to Haiti`s reconstruction effort and fight the against cholera, the United Nations humanitarian chief said this evening as the UN announced $5 million in emergency funds to kick-start assistance in the wake of the deadly storm, which has affected some 350,000 people on the tiny island.
Along with a grant of $5 million to address the most life-saving needs, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) earlier this week released a loan of $8 million dollars to the UN Children`s Fund (UNICEF) to scale up response to the worsening cholera epidemic in Haiti.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Category 4 Hurricane Matthew Tuesday smashed into Haiti with 235 kilometres per hour winds with devastating impact and left destruction in its wake. As information from the areas that were hit hardest becomes available, and as villages and coastal towns begin making contact with the outside world, the death toll soars and the scope of the damage becomes evident.
Initial assessments indicate that hundreds of people have died and thousands of families have lost their homes, livestock and crops.
We expect that homes, schools and cholera treatment facilities have been destroyed and that water systems, roads and bridges have been severely damaged. This is a major blow to Haiti`s reconstruction effort and the fight against cholera, so that`s why immediate CERF funds now will kick start vital life-saving assistance for Haitians caught up in this crisis, " said UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O`Brien.
Intense rains in May and June of 2016, as well as the potential loss of immunity to cholera four years after the highest peaks of the disease have increased the number of suspected cholera cases. In 2016 almost 27,000 cholera cases have been reported in Haiti, and over 240 people have died. Hurricane Matthew is feared to significantly worsen the situation and increase the risk of a larger outbreak, according to the UN.
There is a lot of suffering, a lot of hardship; some of the communities have been almost totally destroyed by the strength of the wind. Therefor the shelters, public infrastructure including the schools [and] hospitals have been affected, " Enzo di Taranto, the Head of Office for OCHA in Haiti, said in an interview with UN Radio.
He added that there also has been significant damage to the country`s electrical and water provision systems.
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