SG briefs GA on Haiti cholera epidemic, DSG heads to Italy, Pascoe to Nepal and more from UN Direct

Haiti: This morning, the SG addressed the GA on the current humanitarian situation in Haiti. In particular, he explained that MINUSTAH is continuing to monitor the cholera situation, drawing water samples from various sources and ensuring that dirty water doesn’t flow into the rivers. The UN is also deploying water, sanitation, and hygiene experts to review all sanitation systems at MINUSTAH facilities. He called on MINUSTAH to make frequent updates on the origins of the cholera epidemic.  In regards to the latest statistics, deaths have reached over 1,800 and infections are almost at 81,000.  WHO/PAHO are estimating that 650,000 could be affected over the next 6 months.  A positive trend, however, is that the death rate has been decreasing over the past six weeks, dropping from 7.6% to 3.6%, yet the SG said this is still “unacceptably high”.  While the UN, the Government and its partners have been engaging in public information campaigns about the epidemic, providing water-purification materials and setting up treatment centers, an estimated 350 doctors, 2,000 nurses and 2,200 support staff are needed over the next three months.  Additionally, water purification tablets, chlorine disinfectant, antibiotics and other materials are urgently needed.  The SG also urged States to meet the $164 million appeal launched by the UN on November 11th, which remains 20% funded.  The U.S. remarks, delivered by Ambassador Barton, welcomed the OAS/CARICOM’s efforts to review the election results and called on all political parties to act responsibly and resolve any concerns in an orderly fashion.  He also underlined the U.S.’ $20 million contribution to Haiti, which has included humanitarian assistance and in-kind support of personnel to deal with the cholera epidemic specifically.

DSG Travel: this weekend the DSG will travel to Turin, Italy, where she will chair the annual meeting of the Board of Governors of the UN System Staff College (UNSSC) on Monday.  She will return to NY on Tuesday, December 7.

WikiLeaks: On the sidelines of the OSCE Summit in Kazakhstan, Secretary Clinton and the SG discussed the leaking of alleged diplomatic cables, and reaffirmed the need for the U.S. and the UN to continue to collaborate together based on mutual trust and confidence. The SG reiterated his commitment to work in a transparent manner.

Pakistan: USG Amos, who is currently traveling in Pakistan, went to the Sindh province today, where roughly 9 million people have been affected by the flooding crisis. She met with IDPs and emphasized the reality that the “disaster is far from over.”

Nepal: USG Pascoe arrived in Nepal today to evaluate the peace process and preparations for the completion of the UNMIN’s mandate, which is set to end January 15, 2011.  During his two-day visit, he plans to speak with the government, political parties, and key stakeholders to help ensure a smooth post-UNMIN period.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities: today the UN marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.  Ambassador Rice issued a statement, which underlined several measures the Obama Administration is taking to advance the rights of people with disabilities, including the appointment of Judith Heurmann as Special Advisor to Secretary Clinton for International Disability Rights, and making disability rights a central component of the U.S.’ work on the MDGs.