Haitians Blame the U.N for starting cholera outbreak


Beginning Monday, residents of Cap-Haitian, which has been hit hard by the outbreak, began demonstrations against United Nations (UN) peacekeepers. This northern part of the Haitian province has the highest fatality rate from cholera, 7.5 percent. Protest have been ongoing in the northern part of the capitol after statements that U.N peacekeepers from Nepal were responsible for starting the cholera outbreak that has claim more than 1,110 lives and spread to eight of the nation’s 10 departments. At first it was believed that the cholera outbreak was the result of ingestion of contaminated food and water but Haitians now suggest that since the cholera is endemic in Nepal, could be a possibility, though the U.N has denied that its forces were responsible for the outbreak.


Aid agencies say that the protests in Haiti due to the cholera outbreak will inhibit treatment.  “Every hour that the efforts of medical and relief workers are obstructed means more deaths of Haitians from cholera,” said Dr. Mirta Roses, director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). “We understand the frustration of many Haitians with the tragic situation that has developed as a result of systemic poverty, the January earthquake and now the cholera epidemic. But relief and medical workers are as critical to saving lives as rescue teams were after the earthquake.”

In addition to the 1,110 reported cholera deaths, another 18,382 people have been hospitalized with the disease, the health ministry reported. The hospital death rate was 4.0 percent, far above the 1.0 percent that infectious disease experts said they expect in developed countries.

As protest over Haiti’s cholera outbreak turn violent, the U.N says the protest may be politically motivated. Witnesses said, what was supposed to be a planned protest began peacefully but turned violent as it moved toward the presidential palace, which was destroyed in the January 12 earthquake.

Angry young men threw rocks at the campaign poster for presidential candidate Jude Celestin, whose candidacy has been endorsed by outgoing president Rene Preval.

Some Haitians have said that Jude Celestin is a symbol of what is not working in the country, and that Prevails endorsement of him means the election on November 28 will not be a fair one.

A protester who lives in the camp, Pierre Aledo said since the earthquake struck, neither he nor his wife had received any help from the government or from any of the many nongovernmental organizations that are in Haiti, adding that both preval and the U.N forces should depart the country, “because they are not good for the Haitian people.


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