25 November 2010
With quake-ravaged Haiti facing a barrage of problems, including a major cholera outbreak, South Africa is giving the country a further R1-million in aid through the World Health Organisation to assist in its recovery process.
“It is our wish that South Africa’s modest contribution would … [go towards] addressing this scourge, as it is known that cholera could effectively be treated if properly coordinated and addressed,” International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Marius Fransman said during a handover ceremony in Pretoria on Wednesday.
The donation was made through the World Health Organisation, and was accepted by WHO representative Dr Stella Anyangwe.
“It is inspiring to find a country with its various challenges opening its heart to offer help to the most vulnerable outside its borders,” Anyangwe said.
“This fund from South Africa is crucial because there is currently a need for clean water and food … Whatever our small contributions, they will all make a difference to the destitute pregnant women and children of Haiti.”
Fransman said South Africa would not let up in its efforts to help Haiti, especially after Hurricane Tomas recently hit that country, leaving 21 dead and 6 000 people homeless.
The January earthquake claimed an estimated 200 000 lives, leaving over 300 000 injured.
The cholera outbreak is the first recorded in Haiti in 50 years. To date, over 19 000 people are been confirmed to be suffering from cholera. According to the Fransman, the death toll from cholera stands at over 1 300.
He said the government noted with concern the United Nations’ finding that less than 10 percent of the funds needed for the cholera outbreak had been received. Another worry was the outbreak of violence and its impact on the delivery of much needed emergency aid to vulnerable people.
“We wish to express our desire for all to work together during this difficult time to ensure that the human dignity of all people is protected,” Fransman said.
“We believe that the answer to the enormous challenge of Haiti is to be found in a continued international response to [its] identified needs.”
South Africa pledged to contribute R5-million to the reconstruction efforts of Haiti. Already, R2.5-million has been received through a South African Broadcasting Corporation-hosted telethon. The funds will be contributed to the United Nations Development Fund to be used in Haiti.
In the afermath of the January earthquake, South Africa contributed R1-million to Rescue South Africa and its search-and-rescue team which visited Haiti to search for quake survivors.
The International Relations Department contributed a further R2.1-million to humanitarian assistance activities of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, World Food Organisation and the International Organisation for Migration.