UN chief vows to support Haiti in overcoming cholera epidemic

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Cholera vaccination campaign in Haiti (2016). Photo: Logan Abassi UN/MINUSTAH

The UN Secretary-General has expressed deep regret over the "terrible suffering" Haiti has endured because of cholera and promised to support the country in overcoming the epidemic.

He issued a statement on Friday following a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to uphold the immunity of the organization.

A class action lawsuit was filed in October 2013 in US Federal Court in New York in connection with the cholera outbreak.

The suit called on the UN to compensate victims of the epidemic.

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

Ban Ki-moon said that the UN has a moral responsibility to the victims of the cholera epidemic.

He pledged to continue to support Haiti to overcome the epidemic, as well as build sound water, sanitation and health systems.

Efforts by the UN, the national authorities and the international community have contributed to a 90 per cent reduction in the number of cases since the peak in 2011.

However, crucial resources are needed to eliminate cholera from the Caribbean island.

Farhan Haq, the UN deputy spokesperson, has more.

"The Secretary-General is actively working to develop a package that would provide material assistance and support to those Haitians most directly affected by cholera. These efforts must include, as a central focus, the victims of the disease and their families. The United Nations also intends to intensify its support to reduce, and ultimately end, the transmission of cholera, improve access to care and treatment and address the longer-term issues of water, sanitation and health systems in Haiti."

Despite repeated appeals, these efforts have been seriously underfunded, and severe and persistent funding shortfalls remain.

The Secretary-General called on Member States to increase their contributions to eliminate cholera and provide assistance to those affected.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’24″

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