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Haiti cholera outbreak still worst in world, says UN

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-03-25

Haiti’s cholera outbreak is still the worst in the world, the top UN envoy there said Monday.

Sandra Honoré briefed the UN Security Council about the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti, crime rates, public health, and the cholera outbreak.

She told reporters “progress is being made” on the cholera epidemic but the country “still has the highest number of cholera cases in the world”.

Health officials in Haiti say the epidemic has killed more than 8,000 people.

But of the 680,820 cases reported since 2010, only six percent of them arose last year – some 58,000 infections.

Honoré said “the overall incidence of the disease has been reduced by half, and the fatality rate is below one percent, which is the alert threshold defined by the World Health Organisation globally”.

UN blamed

Scientific studies have shown that cholera was likely introduced to Haiti by UN peacekeepers from Nepal, where the disease is endemic.

The United Nations has claimed diplomatic immunity from class-action lawsuits being filed by lawyers representing Haitian survivors and relatives of the dead who say the UN peacekeepers contaminated Haiti’s principal river with cholera-infected human waste beginning in October 2010.

The peacekeepers were deployed to Haiti amid violent clashes some ten months after a devastating earthquake struck the capital, Port-au-Prince, killing more than 100,000 people.

In 2012, the United Nations announced a $2.27 billion initiative to help eradicate cholera in Haiti.

Honoré also told the Security Council that major crime was down in 2013, with homicides dropping 21 percent and kidnappings down 53 percent from a year before.

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

Date created : 2014-03-25

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