UN chief apologizes to Haitian people over cholera outbreak

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moonon Thursday apologized to the Haitian people for the United Nations' role in the cholera outbreak and spread in Haiti.

"On behalf of the United Nations, I want to say very clearly: we apologize to the Haitian people," said Ban.

"We simply did not do enough with regard to the cholera outbreak and its spread in Haiti," said Ban. "We are profoundly sorry for our role."

"It is a blemish on the reputation of UN peacekeeping and the Organization world-wide," he said.

Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacteria. It can cause severe acute watery diarrhoea.

It is believed that cholera epidemic was introduced to Haiti by UN peacekeepers from Nepal, where cholera is endemic, after a massive earthquake hit Haiti in 2010.

Over the past six years, cholera has afflicted nearly 800,000 people and claimed the lives of more than 9,000 Haitians, Ban said.

Ban said Haiti remains home to the highest number of cholera cases in the world, and that the United Nations has a responsibility to act.

The UN chief has presented to the UN General Assembly a new approach to cholera in Haiti which requested 400 million U.S. dollars over two years.

The approach consists of intensified effort to respond to and reduce the incidence of cholera in Haiti and calls for material assistance to those most severely impacted by cholera.

It would also require sufficient funding to provide money to the families of those who died of cholera.

[ Editor: meng ]
 

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