Ban reaffirms UN's "moral" commitment to Haiti cholera fight

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United Nations Secretary-General said he hoped that Member States would support his measures to tackle cholera in Haiti. Photo: UN Photo/Daniel Johnson

Much more needs to be done to tackle the cholera outbreak in Haiti, Ban Ki-moon has said, adding that the situation is one he regrets as Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Nearly 800,000 Haitians have been infected by cholera and more than 9,000 have died from it since 2010, when the country was hit by a devastating earthquake.

UN personnel were accused of being responsible for the outbreak, and a law suit was filed in 2013 in New York, calling on the UN to compensate victims.

Daniel Johnson has more.

The issue of the ongoing cholera epidemic in Haiti and the accusation that the UN was responsible were addressed during Ban Ki-moon's visit to Switzerland earlier this week.

Asked by a journalist how the UN could help the impoverished Caribbean country, Mr Ban reaffirmed the organization's concern, as well as its commitment to doing all it could to ensure such an event never happened again:

"I again express United Nations' moral responsibility and express my regret, we should have done much more…I affirm the United Nations' commitment that the UN will do all in its power to first of all treat the patient and stop this epidemic, cholera, and support the families of the victims and victims."

Mr Ban said that a new approach to tackling the disease was needed and that he hoped the UN General Assembly would support his measures.

These involve providing material support to those affected by the disease, which is transmitted in contaminated water and food, and deploying "rapid response" teams to areas where cholera is reported.

Further action includes continuing with a massive vaccination programme which began in 2013, and addressing key issues of water, sanitation and health systems in Haiti.

Repeating his call that the UN would do "all it can" to help Haiti, Mr Ban said that nearly US$10 billion had been raised in 2010 to support reconstruction efforts, amid ongoing political insecurity.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1’35″

 

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