Hurricane Matthew’s devastation in Haiti forces-out UN to call for $120 m in aid

Ban Ki-moon tells massive answer is crucial to provide life-saving assistance as local assist officials struggle to get resources to increasingly desperate areas

The United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, has called for a massive response to help Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Matthew as local assist officials struggled to get food, medicine and water to increasingly desperate communities still isolated almost a week after the jolt from the deadly storm.

Some towns and villages have been almost wiped off the map, Ban told reporters. Tensions are already mounting as people await help. A massive response is necessitated. UN teams are working with local officials to assess requires.

Power was still out, water and food were scarce on Monday, and officials said young men in villages along the road between the hard-hit cities of Les Cayes and Jeremie were putting up sieges of boulders and broken branches to halt convoys of vehicles bringing relief supplies.

One convoy carrying food, water and medications was attacked by gunmen in a remote valley where there had been a mudslide, told Frednel Kedler, coordinator for the civil protection bureau in the Grand-Anse department, which includes Jeremie. He told authorities would try to reach marooned and desperate communities west of Jeremie on Monday.

The national civil protection headquarters in Port-au-Prince on Monday raised its official nationwide death toll to 372, which included 198 deaths in Grand-Anse. Local officials have said the toll tops 500 in Grand-Anse alone.

The UN humanitarian bureau in Geneva, meanwhile, made an emergency appeal for virtually $120 m in aid to help provide life-saving assistance and protection for 750,000 people in south-western Haiti over the next three months.

UN officials said earlier that at least 1.4 million people across the region needed assistance and that 2.1 million overall had been affected by the hurricane. Some 175,000 people remained in shelters Monday.

The agency said flooding had hampered efforts to reach the most affected areas, and that the hurricane had increased the risk of a renewed spike in the number of cholera examples. A continuing cholera outbreak has already killed approximately 10,000 people and nauseated more than 800,000 since 2010.

Roosevelt Zamos, an official with the civil protection agency, told the Associated Press that there existed 40 cases of cholera in Jeremie alone. He told eight people had died of cholera in the Grand-Anse department since the storm.

It can take 12 hours to five days for cholera symptoms to seem after a person ingests polluted food or water, according to the World Health Organization.

The open-air cholera treatment center at Jeremies main hospital had no running water on Monday and at least a dozen of the new patients were under age 10.

Etienne Chimene tried her best to allay her 13 -month-old boy, Cenelson, who was lying in a wooden bed with a hole cut in it and a bucket underneath.

I feel like my baby become worse, she said as she stroked his head and he whimpered.

The center was overcrowded, and patients who were improving were forced outside. Among them was 21 -year-old Nedrine Cabane, who sat on the ground with her father, who had brought her a pot of plantain soup that she ate appreciatively. It was her first meal in three days.

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The fact that there is so much dirty water around makes me think that more people are going to get sick, she said.

Dr Thiery Francois, lead doctor for the ministry of health at the cholera centre, said he didnt know how new cholera suits had been caused by the storm nationwide. Certainly there are cases we dont know anything about, he said, referring to still-isolated areas.

People in the seaside communities of Port Salut and Les Cayes told little to no assist had reached them by Sunday. Besides food and water, they needed clothing and especially shoes because many had cut their feet or stepped on old nails in the scattered debris.

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UN blue helmets load assistance on Monday on to a truck for people affected by Hurricane Matthew, in Jeremie. Photo: Rodrigo Arangua/ AFP/ Getty Images

I lost everything. Find what I have on? Someone gave it to me, said Merlaine Chere in Port Salut. She showed off a meander from stepping on a fingernail and said she had been denied treatment at a local hospital because it demanded a $150 pay she didnt have.

Dominique Pomper, a angler, said the mayor had come to distribute some rice but that was it. Among other things, he told, people here required water. The surging ocean contaminated their wells, making water undrinkable.

Pomper said he had tried to stay at home with his family during the course of its storm but they eventually fled as the water rushed into their home. The 61 -year-old said it was the worst night of their own lives, but that he would never leave his seaside village.

We are fishermen here; our job is the water. We cant run away from the water, he said.

The airstrip in Jeremie is unable to accommodate big cargo planes, so relief was being ferried to the devastated city by helicopter. Three of nine US helicopters had arrived in Jeremie by Sunday, bringing rice and cooking oil, among other things.

I lost everything I own in this hurricane. I just came here to get some help, told subsistence farmer Markus Bagard, one of roughly 200 Haitians standing outside the airstrip watching the helicopters be unloaded.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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