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UN Official Travels to Haiti to Assess Cholera Response

People suffering cholera symptoms are treated in a sports center converted into a cholera treatment center in Cap Haitien, Haiti, 23 Nov 2010

A senior United Nations official is expected in Haiti Tuesday to review the humanitarian response to the cholera outbreak that has killed about 1,300 people.

The U.N. says Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, will be in the Caribbean nation for two days, meeting with government and U.N. officials as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations.

The visit comes as Haiti prepares for elections Sunday to elect a new president to replace Rene Preval, who cannot run again. Voters will also elect a 99-member lower house and 11 members of the 30-seat Senate.

The U.S. ambassador to Haiti, Kenneth Merten, urged Haitians to exercise their right to vote. Speaking to reporters via video conference from Port-au-Prince, Merten said the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, known as MINUSTAH, will help to provide security along with local police. He said thousands of electoral observers will monitor the polling.

Besides the cholera epidemic, Haiti is still recovering from a January 12 earthquake which killed more than 200,000 people and left about 1 million others homeless. Haiti is the Western Hemisphere's poorest country.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.