Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Why President Obama Should Support Cholera Victim Compensation

United Nations peacekeepers sparked a deadly cholera epidemic in Haiti in 2010, the first time Haiti had cholera in at least a century. For six years after that, the UN stonewalled and dodged responsibility by hiding behind its immunity, while over 10,000 Haitians died and at least 800,000 became ill from cholera. Before President Obama leaves office, he has a chance to help make this right by committing U.S. funds to the victim compensation fund and cholera elimination plan. This would be more than fair, as it appears that the U.S. was a major reason the UN took the “stonewalling position” to begin with.

Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.

President Obama Should Make Sure that Haitian Victims of UN-Caused Cholera Are Compensated

Mark Weisbrot, The Huffington Post

January 12, 2017

Seven years after Haiti’s devastating earthquake, President Obama has a chance to see justice done in Haiti before he leaves office, and help address one of the island nation’s lasting humanitarian crises. That is the cholera epidemic that has killed more than 10,000 Haitians and infected at least 800,000 ― or about 8 percent of the population. Families of the victims have demanded compensation from the United Nations, which brought this deadly epidemic to Haiti; and President Obama can help ensure that they receive it.

Prior to 2010, Haiti did not have cholera ― a bacterium that can kill people within hours from dehydration due to diarrhea and vomiting ― for more than a century. Then, in October that year, UN troops from Nepal leaked some of their fecal waste into Haiti’s Artibonite river, the country’s largest supply of drinking water.

I visited a cholera treatment center in Mirebalais in 2011, and watched as victims ― some too weak to walk ― were taken into a large tent for rehydration. They were luckier than many rural residents not far away who could not get to a treatment center in time. The ones that I saw survived, but so did the cholera bacteria; the number of infections will rise this year due to the devastation brought by Hurricane Matthew in October.

 

Click HERE for the original article.

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