UN seeks funds urgently for Haiti's cholera


United Nations (United States) (AFP)

The United Nations on Wednesday launched another urgent appeal to member countries to finance its nearly empty relief fund for battling cholera in Haiti.

It was expected to raise $400 million over two years but only about 2.7 million have been raised so far, UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed said.

"I wish to reaffirm the moral responsibility of the United Nations to the people of Haiti. The Secretary General and I appeal to you to come forward with the resources needed to bring the new approach to life," she said.

The funds raised so far were used to launch three community or development projects in the Caribbean nation at a cost of 2.5 million, and there is only a little over $183,000 left in the fund, she told the General Assembly.

No new contributions have been received since the end of April, she said. To date, only seven countries have joined the portfolio: Britain, South Korea, France, Liechtenstein, India, Sri Lanka and Chile.

Some 9,500 people have died of cholera since the outbreak of the epidemic in 2010 and more than 800,000 have been infected.

Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had been forced to apologize to Haitians when analyses showed that cholera had been introduced into the country by Nepalese soldiers sent in after the 2010 devastating earthquake.

The United Nations, however, considers that it is not legally responsible for the situation, and invokes diplomatic immunity with regard to prosecutions related to this epidemic.