1 Jan 2011

Haiti's death toll from cholera soars to more than 3,300

12:06 am on 1 January 2011

The toll in Haiti from cholera has soared in recent days - with 3,333 people dead.

New figures show an increase of more than 400 deaths - including 100 on 19 December alone.

The average is about 50 a day.

Haiti's first cholera outbreak in more than a century has poured further misery on a poor and politically dysfunctional country trying to recover from a devastating January earthquake that killed some 250,000 people.

The epidemic, which began in October, spawned deadly anti-UN riots last month as some turned their anger on peacekeepers from Nepal accused of bringing the disease into the country.

Experts say the outbreak was likely sparked by a human source from outside the region and the United Nations has promised a thorough investigation into the origin of the epidemic.

Cholera, which causes potentially deadly cases of diarrhoea, often strikes in poor countries where there is a high danger of an epidemic due to inadequate sanitation and limited access to clean water.

The Pan-American Health Organisation in early December estimated Haiti could see up to 400,000 cholera cases over the next 12 months, half of them within three months alone.