Haiti's cholera death toll nears 1,000

The death toll from Haiti's cholera epidemic has reached more than 900 and the disease is present in six of the ten provinces of the earthquake-battered Caribbean country, its health ministry said yesterday. More than 14,600 people are in hospital.

The central rural province of Artibonite, the epicenter of the outbreak, remained the worst affected area, the government said, accounting for nearly 600 of the deaths. Port-au-Prince, the capital, which bore the brunt of destruction from the 12 January earthquake, has recorded cholera 27 deaths.

The government and its aid partners are fighting to prevent the disease spreading in crowded city slums and tent camps housing more than 1.3 million homeless earthquake survivors.

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The United Nations forecasts that up to 200,000 Haitians could contract cholera as the outbreak extends across the country, and says 100 million in aid is needed over the next year.