Haiti cholera death toll tops 1,600

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The death toll from a cholera outbreak in Haiti has climbed above 1,600, according to the latest estimate from the country's health ministry.

A total of 69,776 cases have been reported, nearly 30,000 have needed hospitalisation and 1,603 have died since the disease was first discovered in mid October 2010.

Haitian authorities and international experts have warned the outbreak had yet to reach its peak and are preparing for more cases of the disease, which had not struck the impoverished country in a century.

The United Nations rejected accusations from locals that cholera was brought to Haiti by peacekeepers from Nepal. Edmond Mulet, the chief of the UN mission in Haiti, said tests by the Haitian government had been negative.

The World Bank has offered Haiti $10 million (about R68 million) in immediate financing to help it combat the outbreak.

(Sapa, Silvia Ayuso, Franz Smets, November 2010)

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