Haiti: UN hurricane relief appeal grossly under-funded

The United Nations today appealed to donors to make up an enormous shortfall in emergency funding for relief work in Haiti, where hundreds of thousands of people are still suffering from the devastation caused by four hurricanes over the past month.

Only 2 per cent of the $108 million flash appeal has so far been donated, nine days after it was launched, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported.

OCHA stressed that the situation remains very serious in the impoverished Caribbean country, where over 320 people were killed by the storms and flooding, and 160,000 others are still living in the open, exposed to disease and malnutrition.

Some $54 million are needed for emergency food aid. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has already helped feed some 298,000 people since the start of the crisis.

OCHA is also concerned over access to those who have not yet received aid, including people in the Artibonne and Nippes regions, where continued rains might complicate relief efforts.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for Haiti, Hédi Annabi, yesterday visited hurricane victims in Hinche, central Haiti, evaluating their needs and assuring them of the commitment of the UN and the international community to help them.

Meanwhile, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow began a five-day tour today to take stock of the devastation which has affected more than 300,000 children, according to Government figures.

Ms. Farrow and UNICEF Canada head Nigel Fisher will meet with children and women victims and visit Gonaïves, the worst-hit town, where some 70,000 people are in temporary shelters.

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