Monday, March 24, 2014

Haiti: Cholera Outbreak Worst in World, Disease Brought by Nepalese Peacekeepers

According to The Associated Press, Haiti's cholera outbreak is still the worst in the world, the top UN envoy there said Monday (March 24).

Sandra Honore briefed the UN Security Council about the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti, crime rates, public health and the cholera outbreak.

Ms. Honore told reporters "progress is being made" on the cholera epidemic. Of the 680,820 cases reported since 2010, only 6% increased last year: by some 58,000 infections.

Honore said "the overall incidence of the disease has been reduced by half, and the fatality rate is below 1%, which is the alert threshold defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).

COMMENT: Honore told the Security Council Haiti "still has the highest number of cholera cases in the world." Health officials in Haiti say the epidemic has killed more than 8,000 people.

Scientific studies have shown that cholera was likely introduced in Haiti by UN peacekeepers from Nepal, where the disease is endemic.

The United Nations has claimed diplomatic immunity from class-action lawsuits being filed by lawyers representing Haitian survivors and relatives of the dead who say the UN peacekeepers contaminated Haiti's principal river with cholera-infected human waste beginning in October 2010.

In 2012, the United Nations announced a $2.27 billion initiative to help eradicate cholera in Haiti.

Honore also told the Security Council that major crime was down in 2013, with homicides dropping 21% and kidnappings down 53% from a year before.

It is outrageous that the UN has claimed diplomatic immunity for introducing cholera into Haiti. Either the UN is a part of the solution or a source of the problem.