Friday, February 18, 2011

Risk of cholera still high in rural Haiti

The United Nations has made another appeal for donor countries to contribute to fighting cholera in Haiti. Along with the appeal, the UN gives us an update on the spread of the disease.

The UN says that rural areas of Haiti are still at a high risk of getting cholera. Nationwide, the contamination risk has significantly lowered since its peak of late last year.

From this Associated Press article that we found at Google News, we hear more from the UN on the Haiti's status.

The mixed picture comes from Haitian government figures citing 231,070 reported cases and 4,549 deaths since the epidemic began in October.

National mortality rates from cholera are down to 2 percent, from as high as 9 percent earlier, but in some rural areas, more than one-in-ten people who contract the disease die.

In Haiti's Sud Est region, the mortality rate hit 10.7 percent as of Feb. 9, while in Nippes it was 6.7 percent and in the Grande Anse region, 5.9 percent. The rate should be under 1 percent, according to the World Health Organization.

"It's there (in rural areas) that we absolutely have to strengthen our efforts," said Elisabeth Byrs, a spokeswoman for the U.N. humanitarian coordination office. "For that we need money."

The U.N. also is concerned about the possible spread of the disease during Haiti's upcoming Carnival season.

The U.N. has asked for $175 million to deal with Haiti's cholera outbreak, much of which is distributed to local partners and non-governmental organizations to carry out aid work. So far, however, donors have provided only $80 million.

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