UN Admits Role in Cholera Epidemic in Haiti

Disasters like the earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010 require fast response. But such responses can bring new problems. A cholera outbreak emerged in Haiti later that year. A UN report, prepared by law professor Philip Alston, suggests that the epidemic “would not have broken out but for the actions of the United Nations.” The report focuses on a peacekeeping group of more than 400 members from Nepal, where a cholera outbreak was underway. Cholera is an acute infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholera, explains the World Health Organization. The infection causes dehydration and kills people within hours, with tens of thousands dying each year. “The secretary general’s acknowledgment, by contrast, stopped short of saying that the United Nations specifically caused the epidemic,” reports Jonathan Katz for the New York Times. “Nor does it indicate a change in the organization’s legal position that it is absolutely immune from legal actions, including a federal lawsuit brought in the United States on behalf of cholera victims seeking billions in damages stemming from the Haiti crisis.” – YaleGlobal

UN Admits Role in Cholera Epidemic in Haiti

UN dilemma: A cholera outbreak in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake demonstrates how rapid response to disasters can bring a new round of problems
Jonathan M. Katz
Friday, August 19, 2016

Read the article.


Read about cholera from the World Health Organization.

© 2016 The New York Times Company

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