Friday, May 06, 2011

UN report on Haiti cholera outbreak sidesteps taking responsibility

The United Nations completed their study on what caused the cholera outbreak in Haiti. The report does agree that the a U.N. peacekeepers camp did introduce the bacteria in Haiti. However, the report does not place any blame on the peacekeepers or accepts any responsibility for the outbreak that killed 4,800 people.

From Reuters, we find out more about the report's content.

In its report published Wednesday, the U.N.-appointed panel said the outbreak was caused by "bacteria introduced into Haiti as a result of human activity; more specifically by the contamination of the Meye Tributary System of the Artibonite River with a pathogenic strain of the current South Asian type Vibrio cholerae."

Declaring this cholera strain was introduced "as a result of environmental contamination with feces," the report faulted sanitation conditions at the Mirebalais MINUSTAH camp, saying they "were not sufficient to prevent fecal contamination of the Meye Tributary System of the Artibonite River."


Explaining the epidemic's "explosive spread" along the Artibonite River and throughout Haiti, the report said "simultaneous water and sanitation and healthcare system deficiencies" contributed to the spread. It noted Haitians used river water for washing, bathing, drinking and recreation.

Despite pointing an apparent finger at the U.N. peacekeepers' camp, the U.N.-appointed panel did not directly blame them for starting the epidemic.

"The Independent Panel concludes that the Haiti cholera outbreak was caused by the confluence of circumstances as described above, and was not the fault of, or deliberate action of, a group or individual," it said.

Repeating a longstanding U.N. position over the cholera in Haiti, a U.N. spokesman in New York said the report "does not present any conclusive scientific evidence linking the outbreak to the MINUSTAH peacekeepers or the Mirebalais camp"

"Anyone carrying the relevant strain of the disease in the area could have introduced the bacteria into the river," Michel Bonnardeaux, a spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping department, told Reuters.

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