UN on situation in Haiti

Excerpts from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the General Assembly informal meeting on Haiti, in New York today, 3 December:

Collective Efforts in Haiti Will Be Overwhelmed without Massive, Immediate Response, Secretary-General Warns in Remarks to General Assembly

The challenges arising from the 12 Jan earthquake have been compounded by the needs arising from the passage of Hurricane Tomas, the cholera outbreak and increasing political tensions.

The epidemic has spread to all 10 departments of the country, as well as to PAP. The Ministry of Public Health reports that the number of deaths has exceeded 1,800 and the number of infections is approaching 81,000.

Clearly, it will continue to spread, unfortunately. This is a function of a particularly virulent strain of cholera, as well as underlying issues: a weak national health system, poor sanitary conditions and the lack of clean water and other basic services. The WHO and PAHO estimate that the outbreak could affect as many as 650,000 people in the next six months.

This will not be a short-term crisis. We cannot think short-term in our response. Millions of people look to us for immediate survival. At the same time, our response must be viewed within the broader context of recovery and long-term development.

Investment in basic infrastructure is critical — clean water, sanitation, health care and education, durable shelter and employment. Without it, Haiti has no sustainable future, no hope for a better future.

The people of Haiti deserve nothing less.

Full version available here: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2010/sgsm13294.doc.htm

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