Although the humanitarian situation in the Haitian city of Gonaïves is gradually improving after it was devastated by floods and mudslides caused by deadly Tropical Storm Jeanne in September, the United Nations warned today that barely a quarter of the $37 million sought under the Haiti Floods Flash Appeal was in hand.
The amount of clean water being distributed to the population has greatly increased although it is still far short of the volume that a population of 200,000 people would normally require, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.
The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the non-governmental organization (NGO) Oxfam are working together to restore clean water to some 50 schools and disinfect wells in the area.
Due in large part to the presence of a 120-bed Canadian/Norwegian Red Cross field hospital, health care in Gonaïves, in northwest Haiti, is now considered to be better than it was before storms battered the city but the health sector still suffers from a lack of Haitian doctors, a shortage of free medical services and difficulty in replacing epidemiologists who have left the area.
Another urgent priority is restoring the destroyed irrigation systems, as the vast majority of Gonaïves' population depends on agriculture for employment. Much of the reconstruction work is being hampered by lack of funds since only 27 per cent of the requested funds have been received.
In a fundraising effort a selection of Brazilian soccer players who won the 1994 World Cup will face off against the current Haitian national team in a friendly match Saturday in Miami to focus attention on the situation in Haiti. Ticket sales will finance UNICEF programmes in Haiti for health, nutrition, education and protection.
Haitian authorities have estimated that at least 1,300 people perished and more than 1,000 others were missing from the storm, with most casualties in Gonaïves, Haiti's third-largest city.