CaribWorldNews, PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Mon. Dec. 19, 2010: Over 2,500 Haitians have died from the cholera epidemic since it erupted in mid-October.
Haiti`s health ministry has listed 2,535 deaths as of this past weekend. Fifty-four people died on December 14, the most recent day recorded.
Some 114,497 people infected from the virus to date, 55,000 of whom had to be hospitalized.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appealed to the world for more funds to fight the epidemic in Haiti.
At the same time, he announced the creation of an independent scientific panel to investigate the source of the outbreak amid widespread media reports that Nepalese peacekeepers from the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) are the likely source, with infected water spreading from their base into a nearby tributary of the Artibonite River.
The panel will be completely independent and have full access to all UN premises and personnel, he stressed, adding that further details will be provided when it is finalized.
Last week, UN Children`s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Anthony Lake visited a cholera treatment centre in an impoverished area of Port-au-Prince, the capital, where he pledged continued UN support and stressed that the most important partners in defeating cholera are Haitians themselves, who need to understand that the disease is preventable and treatable through proper hygienic measures.
He stressed that the current environment of uncertainty and insecurity in Haiti places children and families at even greater physical risk and also inhibits the efforts of humanitarian agencies such as UNICEF.