Share This Page

U.N. cholera: Own up, pay up

| Sunday, July 14, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Whether one study or 10 tie United Nations' peacekeepers to a cholera epidemic that has claimed more than 8,000 lives in Haiti, Turtle Bay will admit no responsibility and will pay no compensation. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Congress as much amid the latest findings into the cholera outbreak in a country that had no reported cases prior to the Nepalese peacekeepers' 2010 arrival.

A study in the journal of the American Society for Microbiology considered more than 100 samples from cholera outbreaks in 16 countries, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Haiti and Nepal samples bore striking similarities.

Not that any of this is news. At the onset of the cholera epidemic, the very first report from a French epidemiologist pointed to abysmally poor sanitary conditions at the peacekeepers' camp, which was suspected of contaminating local water supplies.

Earlier this year, when the U.N. refused to pay compensation to 5,000 cholera victims and their families, members of Congress wrote to Mr. Ban, urging the U.N. to take the lead in funding the Hispaniola Initiative, which would provide an estimated $2.2 billion to Haiti over the next 10 years to improve access to clean water.

Mr. Ban's response to Congress: tough noogies. Supposedly the U.N. has provided $140 million — how much of that is in U.S. funding? — to make the Haiti cholera problem go away.

For once, Congress should reciprocate by cutting off U.S. funding and sending Ban with his tin cup to collect from other nations.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.