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UN's Ban issues urgent plea for aid to hurricane-ravaged Haiti

Haiti, the Western Hemisphere's poorest country, still has not recovered from a 2010 earthquake that killed about 100,000. Ban wants $120 million in aid for the next three months.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is calling for a massive international aid effort to help Haitians in desperate need of food, shelter and medical supplies in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, which raked the island's southern peninsula as a Category 4 hurricane a week ago.

The secretary general said 1.4 million Haitians - about 10 percent of the country's population - are in urgent need of help and he has launched an emergency appeal for $120 million (108 million euros) to help the country over the next three months.

Watch video 01:41

Monster Hurricane Matthew devastates Haiti

"A massive response is required," Ban said. "Some towns and villages have been almost wiped off the map,"

He said crops and food reserves have been destroyed. And even a week after the powerful cyclone swept across the western Hemisphere's poorest country the extent of the damage caused, and the aid needed, is still emerging.

"These numbers and needs are growing as more affected areas are reached," Ban added.

Haitian officials put the death toll from the hurricane at 372 on Monday, however, local officials say many more have died.Some reports put the death toll at more than 800. 

Ban, speaking to journalists, continued his plea, "I call on the international community to show solidarity and generosity - and to work together effectively in responding to this emergency."

Haiti is devastated

Matthew ripped across Haiti as the most powerful cyclone in a decade, packing sustained winds of 145 mph (235 kmph). But it lost steam as it moved northward, subsequently lashing the US with 110 mph winds.

By Sunday it was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone as it spun back out to sea - off the coast of North Carolina. After strafing Haiti, Matthew whipped its way across Cuba, the Bahamas and the southeastern coast of the United States.

Watch video 01:06

Cholera, mass graves: Haiti death toll hits 1,000

Hundreds of thousands in North and South Carolina are still without electricity, and the region is bracing for more flash floods as rivers continue to swell. The cyclone claimed at least 17 lives in the US.

UN aid chief Stephen O'Brien said the hurricane had triggered the worst humanitarian crisis in Haiti since a 2010 earthquake, registering, 7.0 on the Richter scale killed more than 100,000 people. A subsequent cholera outbreak, which has never full been eradicated, claimed at least 10,000 more lives. 

The initial outbreak appears to have been triggered by UN peacekeepers. The organization is working on a compensation package for the families of cholera victims, as well as on plans to help build sound water and sanitation systems on the Caribbean island.

Some 100,000 children have also lost their schools. The UN is setting up temporary classrooms and trying to deliver new school supplies.

Watch video 01:21

After Hurricane Matthew: Children in Haiti are unable to go to school

bik/bw (AFP, AP)

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