Science

United Nations Apologizes For Cholera Spread In Haiti

By Monica U Santos , Dec 04, 2016 10:37 AM EST

After six years and 10,000 deaths, the United Nations (UN) issued a carefully and clearly worded public apology on Thursday for its role in the 2010 cholera outbreak especially in Haiti and the widespread suffering it has caused since then. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon himself apologized Thursday for the UN not doing enough to contain the spread of a cholera outbreak in Haiti.

United Nations Apologizes For Cholera Spread In Haiti

The UN has long refuted claims that Nepalese peacekeepers brought cholera to the island nine months after the destructive earthquake happened. The first known appearance of the disease there in over 150 years. Scientists, victims' families and all the advocacy groups accused peacekeepers, especially UN, of spreading cholera through improper sanitation disposal at their base near a river.

According to CNN, with a month left in his term, Secretary Ban issued the carefully worded apology as part of an announcement of a new plan to eradicate the disease."On behalf of the United Nations, I want to say very clearly: We apologize to the Haitian people," Ban told the UN General Assembly. "We simply did not do enough with regard to the cholera outbreak and its spread in Haiti.

Mr. Ban’s apology, as reported by NY Times, is part of his push for redress in Haiti before the end of his 10-year tenure on Dec. 31. Yet the people of Haiti have seen few tangible benefits so far. The United Nations has not yet met its promise to eradicate cholera once and for all from Haiti, though Mr. Ban’s aides said on Thursday that they were close to raising the $200 million.

What Is Cholera?

Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Cholera remains a global threat to public health and an indicator of inequity and lack of social development. Researchers have estimated that every year, there are roughly 1.3 to 4.0 million cases, and 21 000 to 143 000 deaths worldwide due to cholera.

 

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