The U.N.'s bloody hands in Haiti's cholera epidemic

Cholera once was unheard of Haiti. That changed when  hundreds of United Nation's peacekeeping troops from Nepal arrived, following  Haiti's deadly earthquake on January 12, 2010.  

Since then, a deadly cholera epidemic has been ravaging Haiti  - an epidemic linked months ago to sewage spilled from a poorly constructed  Nepali U.N. base and into a river tributary. The scientific evidence has been  irrefutable on that.  

Yet today, 17 months after the first case of cholera, the U.N.  remains in a denial mode about its role in the world's worst cholera  epidemic. Tens of thousands of Haitians have died or been sickened, many as  they went to streams to bathe, wash clothes, or brush their teeth. Yet the  U.N.'s attitude has been like what you'd expect from, say, a despotic Third  World despot who is accountable to nobody.    

"We don't think the cholera outbreak is attributable to  any single factor," Anthony Banbury, a United Nations assistant secretary  general, told the The New York Times in an article on Sunday, "In Haiti, Global Failures on  a Cholera Epidemic."  

The U.N.'s haughty attitude has outraged Haitians and, as  The Times explains, has helped to undermine international efforts to  stop the cholera epidemic. Stonewalling by U.N. officials about the epidemic's  cause also has provoked unrest in Haiti at some points. As The Times explains:

"Haitians were genuinely incensed - and fearful. Some wanted an  explanation, others a scapegoat. Voodoo priests were being lynched for their  supposed role in bringing the curse of cholera on Haiti, the government  said."  

Much of the lengthy front-page article deals with the  muddle-through approach taken by beleaguered NGOs and others in dealing  with an epidemic that caught them off guard: one that, as The Times explains, has spread into every corner of Haiti -- killing more than 7,050  Haitians and sickening more than 531,000, or 5 percent of the population. "The  world rallied to confront cholera...but the mission was muddled by the United  Nations' apparent role in igniting the epidemic and its unwillingness to  acknowledge it," The Times notes.  

Beyond that, U.N. officials have taken a  blame-the-victim attitude regarding the epidemic -- claiming that even if  Nepali peacekeeping troops did start it, the U.N. couldn't be held  responsible. As The Times explains:

U.N. experts claimed that "the  introduction of this cholera strain as a result of environmental contamination  with feces could not have been the source of such an outbreak without  simultaneous water and sanitation and health care system  deficiencies."  

Interestingly, The British left-wing medical Journal The  Lancet -- which hyped civilian causalities in Iraq -- rushed to  the U.N.'s defense, writing an editorial cited by The  Times: 

"Although interest in how the outbreak originated may be a  matter of scientific curiosity for the future, apportioning blame for the  outbreak now is neither fair to people working to improve a dire situation, nor  helpful in combating the disease."  

Ordinary Haitians, of course, might disagree. Among other  things, lawyers representing cholera victims and survivors have filed a legal  claim with the U.N. seeking reparations.  

If the Haiti's cholera outbreak had been caused by U.S.  soldiers, imagine the anti-Americanism and flag-burning that would be erupting  all over the world. To date, however, the world seems to be giving the U.N. a  pass - everybody, that is, except Haiti's cholera victims and  survivors.

Cholera once was unheard of Haiti. That changed when  hundreds of United Nation's peacekeeping troops from Nepal arrived, following  Haiti's deadly earthquake on January 12, 2010.  

Since then, a deadly cholera epidemic has been ravaging Haiti  - an epidemic linked months ago to sewage spilled from a poorly constructed  Nepali U.N. base and into a river tributary. The scientific evidence has been  irrefutable on that.  

Yet today, 17 months after the first case of cholera, the U.N.  remains in a denial mode about its role in the world's worst cholera  epidemic. Tens of thousands of Haitians have died or been sickened, many as  they went to streams to bathe, wash clothes, or brush their teeth. Yet the  U.N.'s attitude has been like what you'd expect from, say, a despotic Third  World despot who is accountable to nobody.    

"We don't think the cholera outbreak is attributable to  any single factor," Anthony Banbury, a United Nations assistant secretary  general, told the The New York Times in an article on Sunday, "In Haiti, Global Failures on  a Cholera Epidemic."  

The U.N.'s haughty attitude has outraged Haitians and, as  The Times explains, has helped to undermine international efforts to  stop the cholera epidemic. Stonewalling by U.N. officials about the epidemic's  cause also has provoked unrest in Haiti at some points. As The Times explains:

"Haitians were genuinely incensed - and fearful. Some wanted an  explanation, others a scapegoat. Voodoo priests were being lynched for their  supposed role in bringing the curse of cholera on Haiti, the government  said."  

Much of the lengthy front-page article deals with the  muddle-through approach taken by beleaguered NGOs and others in dealing  with an epidemic that caught them off guard: one that, as The Times explains, has spread into every corner of Haiti -- killing more than 7,050  Haitians and sickening more than 531,000, or 5 percent of the population. "The  world rallied to confront cholera...but the mission was muddled by the United  Nations' apparent role in igniting the epidemic and its unwillingness to  acknowledge it," The Times notes.  

Beyond that, U.N. officials have taken a  blame-the-victim attitude regarding the epidemic -- claiming that even if  Nepali peacekeeping troops did start it, the U.N. couldn't be held  responsible. As The Times explains:

U.N. experts claimed that "the  introduction of this cholera strain as a result of environmental contamination  with feces could not have been the source of such an outbreak without  simultaneous water and sanitation and health care system  deficiencies."  

Interestingly, The British left-wing medical Journal The  Lancet -- which hyped civilian causalities in Iraq -- rushed to  the U.N.'s defense, writing an editorial cited by The  Times: 

"Although interest in how the outbreak originated may be a  matter of scientific curiosity for the future, apportioning blame for the  outbreak now is neither fair to people working to improve a dire situation, nor  helpful in combating the disease."  

Ordinary Haitians, of course, might disagree. Among other  things, lawyers representing cholera victims and survivors have filed a legal  claim with the U.N. seeking reparations.  

If the Haiti's cholera outbreak had been caused by U.S.  soldiers, imagine the anti-Americanism and flag-burning that would be erupting  all over the world. To date, however, the world seems to be giving the U.N. a  pass - everybody, that is, except Haiti's cholera victims and  survivors.

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