A $450 Million U.N.-backed Cholera Elimination Plan Remains Less Than Half Funded
Amidst continued denial by the United Nations and its representatives of their culpability in the devastating cholera outbreak that ravaged what was left of Haiti after the destruction caused by the 2010 earthquake, they remain vocal about their intent to help the country eliminate the illness, from the position of unassociated good samaritan. Taking this stance, the U.N. has said it is prepared to help Haiti fight the epidemic and promised to do so by raising, at every possible opportunity, the $450 million it will need to keep this promise. The problem is that, following the announcement made in the latter part of 2012 by the U.N.'s General Secretary, Ban Ki-moon, less than half of the needed amount has actually been raised, while cholera is still alive and claiming lives in Haiti. The hope which a planned donor meeting of the highest level to raise funds was to bring has been put on hold until 2014.
The country has had to learn the hard way, yet again, that the promise of help becomes a lot less voluble as time passes. Since last year, there has been a regular decline in the staff and the funding available for the Haiti cholera project, despite recent claims made by the U.N. that their representatives have been at the scene every day, giving response to cases and providing victims with medical support and the country with treatment facilities and sewage remediation.
Adding to the threat of the initial exposure, a source now unanimously agreed upon by scientists worldwide to be Nepalese aid workers sent to Haiti after the earthquake, is the fear that the epidemic will be strengthened during the current hurricane season. If this were to happen, the current death-toll from the epidemic will likely rise greatly from the over 8,000 recorded before the season, a number which can scarcely be verified because the lack of resources means accurate data isn't available; the death toll could already be much higher.
When members of the Security Council for the U.N. met with the MINUSTAH group of countries last month, the discussion didn't include the United Nations' role in the starting of the epidemic, reiterating their stance that, since their internal panel has deemed the epidemic to have been started by a 'confluence of circumstances', the U.N. workers were not at fault and the U.N. is not liable to redress Haiti for the outbreak.
Earlier this year, a suit filed against the U.N. was deemed as 'not receivable,' However, groups like the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux and the Haiti Institute for Justice and Democracy continue to fight for the law to handle the matter of compensation from the United Nations to Haiti cholera victims and their families. While they make the effort, the government seems to be prostrating itself while trying not to bite the hand that feeds. In a recent French interview, Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said that, while the U.N. has a moral responsibility, the government has been using 'direct dialogue' as their approach.
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