U.N. Accepts Blame for Haiti’s Cholera Epidemic, But Dodges the Bill

Today’s lesson in evading moral responsibility comes to us from the United Nations. The organization says it is terribly concerned about the cholera epidemic in Haiti and wishes to eliminate it. But it has not figured out when and how this is going to happen, and with what money.

The “who” and “why” are well known. The United Nations has the duty to end the cholera crisis because the United Nations caused it. The disease was unknown in modern Haiti until peacekeepers, from Nepal, introduced it. They let their raw sewage flow into a river that people use for drinking water. That was in 2010. Cholera has since killed more than 9,000 Haitians and sickened 800,000 others.

The United Nations has spent nearly all that time trying to avoid blame. Only last December did it apologize and promise to make things right. The secretary-general at the time, Ban Ki-moon, promised strenuous efforts, called the “New Approach,” to eradicate cholera from the country.

That unfinished job has fallen to Mr. Ban’s successor, António Guterres. The New Approach envisions spending $400 million, but has raised only about $2 million. (Thank you, South Korea, France, Chile, India and Liechtenstein.) The United States, perhaps unsurprisingly, has contributed zero dollars to this effort. Our president is trying to gut international aid, including famine relief, as he lectures other nations about their failures to meet shared obligations.

Haiti, meanwhile, suffers. It lacks clean water and sanitation. The natural and human-caused disasters that beset Haiti throughout the last century have continued into the current one: the ruinous cycles of outside intervention and neglect; the lingering effects of underdevelopment, political instability and institutions; the 2010 earthquake; and last year, the catastrophic Hurricane Matthew.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: The New York Times