CERF allocates funds to kick start assistance following Hurricane Matthew and provides loan to boost ongoing reponse to cholera epidemic in Haiti

The Central Emergency Response Fund, (CERF) is releasing a grant of $5 million to address the most life-saving needs of people affected by hurricane Matthew. Earlier this week, CERF also released a loan of US$8 million dollars to UNICEF to scale up response to the worsening cholera epidemic in Haiti.

Category 4 Hurricane Matthew Tuesday smashed into Haiti with 235 kilometres per hour winds with devastating impact and left destruction in its wake. As information from the areas that were hit hardest becomes available, and as villages and coastal towns begin making contact with the outside world, the death toll soars and the scope of the damage becomes evident. Initial assessments indicate that hundreds of people have died and thousands of families have lost their homes, livestock and crops.

“We expect that homes, schools and cholera treatment facilities have been destroyed and that water systems, roads and bridges have been severely damaged. This is a major blow to Haiti’s reconstruction effort and the fight against cholera, so that’s why immediate CERF funds now will kick start vital life-saving assistance for Haitians caught up in this crisis,” said the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O'Brien.

UN agencies and humanitarian partners are working with the Government to assess the full scale of the destruction and provide emergency aid. The $5 million grant from CERF will kickstart the initial emergency response operations and meet the urgent needs of the most affected populations.

Earlier this week before the hurricane struck Haiti, CERF approved a loan of $8 million to respond to the spread of cholera in the country. Intense rains in May and June of 2016, as well as the potential loss of immunity to cholera four years after the highest peaks of the disease have increased the number of suspected cholera cases. In 2016 almost 27,000 cholera cases have been reported in Haiti, and over 240 people have died. Hurricane Matthew is feared to significantly worsen the situation and increase the risk of a larger outbreak.

With the launch of the UN’s new approach to Cholera in Haiti, announced by the SecretaryGeneral in August 2016, CERF continues to lead the way in supporting the immediate response to cholera.

Since 2010, CERF has provided nearly $90 million in grants to emergency response operations in Haiti.

“I call on ever generous donors to urgently follow CERF and support the emergency response in Haiti without delay,” said Stephen O'Brien.

CERF was established in 2006 to help agencies respond rapidly to new or deteriorating humanitarian situations. Since its inception, donors have shown great support to CERF and allowed the Fund to allocate more than $4.5 billion to support humanitarian operations in 98 countries and territories.

Considering a quadrupling of global humanitarian needs since 2006, the Secretary-General has called for a doubling of CERF to $1 billion by 2018. To ensure that CERF remains an effective tool capable of meeting the current complexity and range of crises, new contributions to CERF are immediately needed.