The United Nations launched a $2.2 billion appeal for a campaign to eradicate a cholera epidemic in Haiti that has been blamed on UN peacekeepers.
More than 7 750 people have died and in excess of 620 000 cholera cases have been reported since the epidemic started in October 2010, said UN leader Ban Ki-moon as he launched the 10-year campaign.
Several hundred people have also been killed in neighbouring Dominican Republic.
UN officials said 70% of the $2.2 billion needed in the next decade would be used on new water and sanitation facilities. But Ban said the UN was "also determined to save lives through the use of a new oral vaccine."
He said $500 million would be needed in the next two years, with $215 million already raised from donor countries while the United Nations was committing $23.5 million.
Ban said the United Nations has already spent $118 million dollars on its cholera response and that he would campaign to raise more money.
"The United Nations has a long history in Haiti, many years of partnership in difficult times," Ban said. "Today as ever we are in Haiti for one reason alone: to help the Haitian people make their great country all that it can be."
(Sapa, December 2012)
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