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UN Publicly Apologizes for Cholera Outbreak in Haiti

The United Nations “did not do enough” to contain the cholera outbreak that swept across Haiti in 2010, killing at least 10,000 people, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday. “On behalf of the United Nations, I want to say very clearly: We apologize to the Haitian people,” Ban told the UN General Assembly. After five years of denying any link between the UN and the deadly outbreak, the UN finally acknowledged its own role in August after a damning report found that UN personnel from Nepal were the most likely its source. However, Thursday’s statement stopped short of admitting that UN personnel were to blame for the epidemic. Surviving Haitian cholera victims applauded the apology. “This has cast a shadow upon the relationship between the United Nations and the people of Haiti. It is a blemish on the reputation of UN peacekeeping and the organization worldwide,” Ban said. He went on to announce a new plan to eradicate the disease, calling on member states to make voluntary contributions to add to funding from the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank. The funding will go toward a project to reduce the number cholera cases by improving water and sanitation systems and providing better access to health care.