UN’s Own Independent Experts Now Say MINUSTAH Troops “Most Likely” Caused Cholera Epidemic
|Friday, 26 July 2013 10:56|
The number of experts casting doubt on the likelihood of the U.N. having been the source of Haiti’s deadly cholera epidemic is getting increasingly smaller. In what Foreign Policy’s Turtle Bay blogger Colum Lynch calls a “dramatic retreat,” a panel of independent U.N. experts who earlier had reported that the outbreak’s cause "was not the fault" of any "group or individual" and cited environmental factors – most notably Haiti’s lack of adequate sanitation – as being partly at fault, have now determined that U.N. troops from Nepal "most likely” were the cause.
Lynch goes on to write:
Lynch writes that
But in fact the report does not say the U.N. troops themselves “constructed” the “haphazard” pipe system themselves; the U.N. is supposed to have hired a contractor, Sanco Enterprises SA, to facilitate the removal of human waste from the base. The U.N. does of course bear blame for the contractor’s negligence, however.
Lynch notes that “The latest findings will increase pressure on the United Nations to acknowledge responsibility for introducing cholera into the country.” As we have recently described, the U.N. has taken a defensive posture both toward its own responsibility for the epidemic and for ensuring funding for its own cholera eradication plan (prepared with the Haitian and Dominican governments and NGO’s). A new article from Haiti Grassroots Watch (HGW) warns that the lack of funding for the plan could mean “that the disease will likely be endemic to Haiti for years to come.”
Noting that “the majority of Haitians – about eight million people – do not have access to a hygienic sanitation system,” HGW cites Physicians for Haiti’s Rishi Rattan as saying that it is “highly likely that cholera will become endemic in Haiti without full funding of Haiti's cholera elimination plan by entities such as the United Nations (UN).”
HGW goes on to report:
As the international community fails to fully fund the cholera eradication plan and ensure adequate sanitation and clean drinking water for Haiti’s population, HGW describes one important, smaller-scale alternative in treating sewage: how the small non-profit Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL) is stepping in to help dispose of human waste and convert it into usable compost.