In 2010, one of the world’s deadliest earthquakes hit one of its most vulnerable countries–Haiti. It’s not really known how many people were killed, some estimates suggest as many as 230,000. The quake and its after shocks injured thousands and displaced more than a million people. But there was more; Cholera broke out.
“People are angry, venting their frustrations at the UN, at the government, at anyone who will listen, as they watch their loved ones fall victim to cholera.”
The CBC’s Connie Watson, reporting on the outbreak
After that report, cholera went on to kill thousands more, and is still striking Haitians four years later.
Many blame the outbreak on the United Nations. They say Nepalese peackeepers introduced the bacteria through sewage contamination from their barracks. Some Haitians are hoping legal action will result in some restitution. Their case comes to a pivotal step next week at a hearing in a U.S. court.
One of the plaintiffs is a 41-year-old Haitian, Lizette Paul. Broadcaster France 24 recently interviewed Ms. Paul, who lost eight family members, including her daughter, to the outbreak.
“Since the children’s father died in 2012, we can’t afford to send them to school. They’re also the victims of cholera. Now, we don’t even have enough money to feed ourselves.”
Plaintiffs such as Lizette Paul say the United Nations did not do enough to help cholera victims and it shouldn’t hide behind diplomatic immunity.
To find out more, we were joined by three guests:
- Joseph Guyler Delva is a journalist with the Haitian Carribean News Network in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
- Beatrice Lindstrom is a lawyer with the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti.
- Kristen Boon is a professor at Seton Hall Law School.
We invited the United Nations to respond, but they declined our request.
Have thoughts on this discussion you want to share?
This segment was produced by The Current’s Shannon Higgins and Marc Apollonio.