United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon on Monday launched a “flash appeal” for $120 million (nearly Rs 800 crore) to “meet the urgent needs” of Haiti, which has been ravaged by Hurricane Matthew. The storm, deemed the strongest in the Carribean in a decade, has left more than 1,000 people dead and destroyed massive swaths of property and agricultural land.
Ban said, at least 1.4 million people need immediate help. “Some towns and villages have been almost wiped off the map. Crops and food reserves have been destroyed. At least 300 schools have been damaged,” he added. He also said that the toll will only climb as rescue workers reach more remote areas.
The UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund has already released $5 million (approximately Rs 33 crore) for Haiti, Ban said. The UN said it arrived at the figure by factoring in the needs of vulnerable groups as well as the capacity of the country’s government and aid organisations already on the scene. He also warned of food insecurity and the spread of communicable diseases, especially cholera.
Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti on October 4. It also caused widespread damage in other parts of the Caribbean and southern United States.