U.N. Apologizes for Role in Haiti’s 2010 Cholera Outbreak
Friday, December 2, 2016
After six years and 10,000 deaths, the United Nations issued a carefully worded public apology on Thursday for its role in the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti and the widespread suffering it has caused since then.
The mea culpa, which Secretary General Ban Ki-moon delivered before the General Assembly, avoided any mention of who brought cholera to Haiti, even though the disease was not present in the country until United Nations peacekeepers arrived from Nepal, where an outbreak was underway.
The peacekeepers lived on a base that often leaked waste into a river, and the first cholera cases in the country appeared in Haitians who lived nearby. Numerous scientists have long argued that the base was the source of the outbreak, but for years United Nations officials refused to accept responsibility.
Even though Mr. Ban’s office has acknowledged that the United Nations had played a role in the outbreak, his apology on Thursday was limited to how the world body responded to the outbreak, not how it started.
- Health Care