Haiti Set For Poll Amid Cholera

by
aliciawesly2
(Reuters)

Aid agencies are trying to step up their work in Haiti, where a cholera outbreak is now known to have killed 1,344 people since last month.

Aid efforts, especially in the worst-hit areas in the north, were disrupted last week by protesters who blame UN peacekeepers for spreading the disease.

Officials said the security situation there had stabilised.

Campaigning is meanwhile in full swing for Sunday's elections despite some calls for a postponement.

Voters are due to elect a new president and members of the legislature.

Late on Friday, four candidates appealed for the election to be delayed so authorities could focus on tackling the cholera outbreak.

The four, none of whom is a front-runner in the 28 November poll, also called for an independent inquiry to establish the origin of the cholera.

Some Haitians have blamed UN peacekeepers from Nepal, where cholera is endemic, for bringing the disease to their country.

Violence erupted last week, with people setting up barricades and throwing rocks at UN vehicles.

UN agencies and other aid groups said the protests were preventing them from carrying out relief work in the Cap-Haitien area, which has the highest fatality rate in the country.

However, at the weekend, supplies were once again being sent to the area, humanitarian groups said.

"The security situation there has now stabilised," Imogen Wall of the UN humanitarian agency, Ocha, told Reuters.

"We're going to have to scramble to get back to where we were."

Oxfam said they planned to resume their work in the north on Monday.

In the capital, Port-au-Prince, one of the main challenges is to prevent cholera from spreading in the slums and tent camps housing more than one million people left homeless by January's devastating earthquake.