UN Launches Cholera Plan for Haiti but Needs Funds
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced a $2.27 billion initiative Tuesday to help eradicate cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, vowing to work aggressively to secure donations for the ambitious but still mostly unfunded 10-year plan.
Cholera has killed at least 7,759 people in Haiti since the outbreak started in October 2010, likely brought to the country by a unit of U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal. More than 420 have died in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.
Ban said bilateral and multilateral donors have so far given $215 million and the U.N. has committed another $23.5 million for the initiative, which will mostly focus on improving clean water and sanitation infrastructure. But Ban said Haiti alone will need $500 million over the next two years to implement its national cholera plan.
Ban promised to "use every opportunity" in the next months to advocate for more funding for the plan.
"We know the elimination of cholera is possible. Science tells us it can be done," Ban said. "It can and will happen in Haiti."
Paul Farmer, the U.N. deputy special envoy for Haiti, has been appointed as the secretary-general’s special adviser for the cholera initiative. The U.N. will be working with Farmer in the coming months to seek contributions from governments, multilateral organizations, the private sector and individual philanthropists, said Nigel Fisher, the humanitarian coordinator for the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti.
The Dominican Republic will require $70 million over 10 years to implement its cholera eradication plan. Fisher said the country will invest heavily from its own national budget, although it, too, needs resources.