Urgent Humanitarian Crisis: Death, water and UN action in Haiti

UNITED NATIONS (FinalCall.com) - The Center for Economic and Policy Research argued in a recent position paper that “cholera is arguably Haiti’s most urgent humanitarian crisis killing more people every day.”

The Caribbean nation, home to nearly 10 million people, had not seen the dreaded disease for a least a century, but 10-months after the January 2010 earthquake, cholera struck in the central highlands near a camp for UN peacekeepers. 

However, to date the world body has yet to accept responsibility for its role in spreading cholera, a condition that can quickly lead to severe hydration and death.

Last December UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon announced a new $2.2 billion initiative to be invested over a 10-year period for cholera prevention, treatment and education. “It will take a holistic approach to tackle the cholera challenge,” the two-term secretary-general said.

“The main focus is on the extension of clean drinking water and sanitation systems,” Mr. Ban added. The UN is chipping in $23 million for a “cholera eradication plan.” A mere one percent of what is needed, according to CEPR.

The Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti and the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, a Haiti-based rights organization, filed legal claims against the United Nations on behalf of 5,000 Haitian cholera victims.

“There is a very good chance the UN will be forced to own up to its responsibility,” said Dan Beeton, CEPR international communications director. “The UN continues to say that they have no legal responsibility for the cholera epidemic that killed 7,912 people since its introduction by the Nepalese peacekeepers,” Mr. Beeton told The Final Call, adding, “The UN’s strategy of denial is failing.” [Read More]

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