Haiti: Cholera Could Affect 650,000, Says UN
The United Nations has warned that the cholera epidemic in Haiti could affect many more people than previously believed.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that health officials now estimated that 650,000 people could become infected over the next six months.
He also said that the UN believed the number of deaths could be twice as high as the official figure of 1,800.
Mr Ban said there was an urgent need for more medical personnel.
Officials from the Pan-American and World Health Organisations estimate that an additional 350 doctors are needed on top of the 300 medical staff already committed by Cuba.
The UN secretary-general, who was speaking to the UN General Assembly in New York, said that while the death rate had decreased, it remained unacceptably high at 3.6%.
He also warned that because of the difficulties in reporting new cases and deaths in rural areas, actual figures could be double the official ones.
Mr Ban said that any social unrest in the country could hinder cholera victims from receiving life-saving treatment.
He appealed for calm even though he said that irregularities in Sunday’s presidential and legislative elections in Haiti now seemed “more serious than initially thought”.
Results from the election are not due to be announced until 7 December, but most observers said the election was grossly mismanaged with many instances of fraud triggering large street protests.
Mr Ban also urged international donors to deliver on the pledges they made, reminding them that only 20% of the $164m the UN had appealed for had been funded so far.