A Year of Cholera from the United Nations
By: Etant Dupain, Bri Kouri Nouvèl Gaye
Nothing can replace the lives of the 6,500 people dead from a cholera epidemic that MINUSTAH (the United Nations peacekeepers) brought to Haiti. More than 400,000 have already been infected while 600,000 people are still living in displacement camps without access to services for their basic needs, such as sanitation and potable water.
Despite the fact that several major investigations and reports have proven that the current cholera epidemic came from actions of the MINUSTAH, the UN mission has never recognized this publicly or taken ownership of their irresponsible behavior that led to the deadly outbreak.
In the face of a preventable and curable disease, it is a great disappointment to see how the Haitian authorities have done so little to aid those most vulnerable to the MINUSTAH cholera, people throughout the country without access to safe sources of water and basic sanitation. One year after the outbreak began, the response of one government and then its predecessor has been to tolerate the mission and its silence about the epidemic during a time when several hundred thousand people are still living exposed in the IDP (internally displaced people) camps, poor urban neighborhoods and the rural areas.
It is a shame and a deception for the majority of Haitians to see the way the Security Council of the United Nations renewed the mandate of the MINUSTAH without even mentioning the victims of cholera. At the same time, we must ask ourselves a question:
If the Haitian government doesn’t officially recognize that MINUSTAH brought the deadly cholera epidemic to Haiti, and they don’t ask the United Nations to take responsibility for it, how can we condemn only the UN?
One year later, cholera continues to kill Haitians and it is critical to denounce the politics of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and the UN that have not stopped asking for money throughout the world in the name of poor Haitians while the inhumane living conditions of these Haitian families have not tangibly improved.
This week, while we commemorate one year since the outbreak of cholera began, more than sixty people have already lost their lives in the area of Chadonieres in the south department of Haiti. These lives lost have yet to be added to the official death count, and many others who have lost their lives in the villages and along the mountain roads, not making it to cholera treatment centers, will never be counted.
One year later, cholera has left thousands of children orphaned and parents childless, under the eyes of a government that has been all too complicit in the renewal and silence of the UN mission.