UNDENY: The campaign to end cholera in Haiti

3 years ago

The message is simple: over 500,000 Haitians have been infected with Cholera and over 7,000 have died from the disease since october 2010. Yet, Haiti is still left without sufficient sanitation and water infrastructure or reparations for the more than half a million victims of the Cholera outbreak. Baseball in The Time of Cholera is a powerful insight into the tragedy and scandal of Haiti’s Cholera epidemic through the eyes of a young baseball player. Please share this story with your friends and family via Facebook and Twitter.

Sign the petition to end Cholera in Haiti here


What is Cholera?

Cholera is a waterborne illness that causes acute, profuse diarrhea and vomiting. Cholera disproportionately impacts the poor and vulnerable; it is generally easily treatable with oral rehydration solutions, but for those who lack access to clean water and medical care, it can kill in a matter of hours.

How did the epidemic spread through Haiti?

On October 21, 2010 cholera exploded in the Artibonite region along Haiti’s central river system, and then quickly spread to other areas. Within the first 30 days, Haitian authorities recorded almost 2,000 deaths from cholera. While cholera is endemic in some developing countries, Haiti has never had a recorded cholera epidemic. As of May 2012, the Haitian government reports that 7,200 people have died and over 542,000 have been infected with the disease. Geneticists and epidemiologists have verified that the bacteria originated from a riverside UN peacekeeping base in Mirebalais.

Did the UN really bring Cholera to Haiti?

Numerous DNA tests and epidemiological studies, including those of the UN itself, have documented that MINUSTAH personnel deployed from Nepal brought the vibrio cholerae bacteria to Haiti. Although Nepal has endemic cholera, the UN did not test or treat the Nepalese peacekeepers for cholera prior to their deployment to Mirebalais. There they lived on a base with a “haphazard” and “inadequate” sewage system that dumped all waste into an unfenced pit. It was easily foreseeable that human feces containing cholera bacteria could contaminate a tributary that runs just meters from the base into the Artibonite River. In fact, the record speed of the outbreak caused epidemiologists to hypothesize that a full cubic meter of cholera-ridden water was dumped into the Artibonite and traveled downstream like a plume, infecting the Haitian families that drink, bathe, play and do laundry in the river along the way. In March 2011, UN Special Envoy to Haiti Bill Clinton acknowledged that MINSTAH was the “proximate cause” of the outbreak.

What is the goal of UNDeny?

Our goal is to spread public awareness of the UN’s involvement in the epidemic, applying enough pressure that the UN accepts responsibility for the outbreak and ensures the installation of the water and sanitation infrastructure necessary to control the cholera epidemic. This campaign will amplify the cries for justice of Haiti’s cholera victims and their families, and connect their struggle with supporters from less vulnerable countries. We are all able to join in the fight – through watching the film, signing the petition and sharing this site we can be a part of ending the crisis.

Is UNDeny working?

In November 2011, over 5,000 victims of cholera filed claims with the UN, seeking compensation, investments in clean water and sanitation infrastructure, and a public apology. The UN has not formally conceded its responsibility yet, but since then:

– The cholera victims’ fight for justice has received favorable press coverage throughout the world, including: ABC News, Al Jazeera, BBC, CBC, CNN, The Economist, NPR, New York Times, RFI and Time Magazine;

– In January 2012, UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the Pan-American Health Organization – all UN agencies – acknowledged that controlling the epidemic required providing comprehensive water and sanitation in Haiti;

– In March 2012, UN Special Envoy to Haiti Bill Clinton conceded that UN troops were the “proximate cause” of cholera in Haiti.

– In March 2012, France’s UN Security Council representative acknowledged the damage cholera has done to Haitians and the UN’s reputation in Haiti, declaring, “We can regret this, but we cannot ignore it.” Pakistan’s representative declared that the UN must do “whatever is necessary to make this situation right.”

– In June 2012, over 75 members of the U.S. Congress joined in a letter urging the United States to call on the UN to respond to the epidemic.

– On December 11, 2012, the UN announced an anti-cholera initiative aimed at Haiti, pledging $23.5 million to tackle the epidemic via an oral vaccine in addition to the extension of clean water and sanitation facilities.

We are just starting this fight. We can achieve safe water and compensation for Haiti’s cholera victims, but we need your help! Share this page with your friends.

Sign the petition to end Cholera in Haiti here

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