United Nations committed to helping eradicate cholera in Haiti
"The United Nations is working on the ground with the Government and people of Haiti both to provide immediate and practical assistance to those affected, and to put in place better infrastructure and services for all," Farhan Haq, a U.N. spokesperson, said.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced the U.N. intends to eradicate cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, a disease which was eradicated from the island years ago. A lawsuit was recently filed against the U.N., claiming U.N. personnel are the cause of the recent outbreak.
The outbreak first began in October of 2010, after U.N. personnel rushed to the island to help the nations rebuild after the 2010 earthquake. The plaintiffs of the case believe the U.N. representatives who came to the island brought cholera with them. Haq said the U.N. is not at liberty to publicly discuss the case, as it is open.
"As there are legal processes under way, we cannot make any further comment on this particular situation," Haq said.
More than 650,000 infections and more than 8,000 deaths from cholera have been reported by the government of Haiti since October 2010. The disease is typically transmitted via contaminated food or water.
The U.N. has taken great measures to get control of the epidemic, including developing waste water treatment facilities, purchasing oral cholera vaccines, establishing and remodeling cholera treatment facilities and supporting campaigns to promote hygiene in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Additional measures will continue to be taken, under what is known at the Initiative for the Elimination of Cholera in the Island of Hispaniola.