In Haiti, Cholera Victims Demand Payment From UN

A doctor administers treatment for a patient suffering from cholera at a medical center near Port au Prince. Photo by: Marco Dormino / UN

Five thousand cholera victims in Haiti have filed legal action demanding at least $250 million from the United Nations as compensation and apology for what they say is the global organization’s role in bringing the disease into the earthquake-hit country.

The U.S.-based group Justice and Democracy in Haiti presented a petition on behalf of the cholera victims to the U.N. headquarters in New York, and sent a copy to the U.N. Mission in Haiti, or MINUSTAH, according to Voice of America.

The group says the United Nations is liable for the cholera outbreak due to its failure to adequately screen and treat the peacekeepers it sent to Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake in January 2010. The epidemic in Haiti, which has not seen a case of cholera prior to the earthquake, has been blamed largely on a group of peacekeepers from Nepal.

The group also alleged the United Nations dumped untreated waste into Haiti’s longest and main waterway, and failed to adequately address the resulting epidemic.

The legal petition filed by the group seeks $50,000 for each person hit by cholera and survived, and $100,000 for every person who died of the disease, the Agence France-Presse reports.

The epidemic has claimed more than 6,600 lives and infected some 475,000 people since last year’s outbreak.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.