A man suffering from cholera symptoms lies on his mother's lap at a hospital in Haiti in November 2010.
A man suffering from cholera symptoms lies on his mother's lap at a hospital in Haiti in November 2010. Emilio Morenatti

UN 'profoundly sorry' for cholera spread in Haiti

UNITED Nations Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon has apologised to the Haitian people for the organisation's failure to contain a cholera outbreak that has claimed more than 9000 lives.

In a speech announcing the UN's new approach to cholera in Haiti - providing direct aid to communities affected by the disease - Mr Ban conceded the UN had failed to "do enough with regard to the cholera outbreak and its spread”.

"We are profoundly sorry for our role,” he said, speaking first in Creole, then repeating himself in French and English.

Cholera had not existed in Haiti before an outbreak in late 2014 that was widely attributed to cholera- contaminated sewage from a UN peacekeeper camp entering a river.

In August, a US appeals court ruled the UN was protected by diplomatic immunity from a lawsuit filed on behalf of 5000 Haitian cholera victims who blame the UN for the epidemic.

After the ruling, Mr Ban conceded the UN had a moral responsibility to the victims.

More than 800,000 Haitians have been infected with cholera since the outbreak.


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