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How the UN Might Have Inadvertently Started a Cholera Epidemic In Haiti

samzenpus posted 1 year,29 days | from the pandora's-box dept.

Medicine 158

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Celso Perez and Muneer Ahmad write in The Atlantic that despite evidence to the contrary, for nearly three years, the United Nations has categorically denied that it introduced cholera into Haiti after the country suffered a devastating earthquake in 2010. Since then, cholera has killed more than 8,000 people and infected more than 600,000, creating an ongoing epidemic. According to extensive documentation by scientists and journalists, peacekeeping troops belonging to the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) inadvertently but negligently brought cholera into the country several months after the January 2010 earthquake. That October, troops from Nepal carrying the disease were stationed at a military base near the town of Méyè. Because of inadequate water and sanitation facilities at the base, cholera-infected sewage contaminated the Artibonite River, the largest river in Haiti and one the country's main water sources. As locals consumed the contaminated water, cholera spread across the country. Absent from Haiti for over a century, cholera is now projected to plague the country for at least another decade. 'By refusing to acknowledge responsibility, the United Nations jeopardizes its standing and moral authority in Haiti and in other countries where its personnel are deployed,' writes the Washington Post Editorial Board adding that without 'speaking frankly about its own responsibility for introducing cholera to Haiti, the organization does a disservice to Haiti and Haitians, who deserve better.'"

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What a shame (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44606231)

What a shame it wasn't in a Muslim country

Why Nepal is sending troops elsewhere? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44606273)

They're poor as hell and need aid of their own and they have rebels.

Re:Why Nepal is sending troops elsewhere? (4, Interesting)

dywolf (2673597) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606375)

Because their troops are some of the most badass in the world.
You know their troops are the ones we know as the Gurkha's right? ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gurkha [wikipedia.org] )
UN asked for troops, Nepal volunteered some of theirs, UN said "ok". (theyve volunteered for almost every major UN operation)
Gurkhas, being the tough SOB's they are, weren't gonna let a little stomach bug get in their way.

Re:Why Nepal is sending troops elsewhere? (5, Interesting)

cold fjord (826450) | 1 year,28 days | (#44606819)

Re:Why Nepal is sending troops elsewhere? (5, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606441)

They are peacekeeping troops, they are outsiders for a reason. Fighting "rebels" in their own country is not peacekeeping. As for why the Nepalese would send them, there are plenty of political and practical reasons, pride in "doing their bit", skills transfer, etc. Sadly this appears to be a case of good intentions leading directly to hell. I strongly agree that the UN should have the balls to acknowledge facts, mind you, I'm not sure what the facts are.

Re:Why Nepal is sending troops elsewhere? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44606491)

Sending "Peacekeeping Troops" is an enormous profit center for a small country. The country providing troops receives a huge stipend per troop. It far outstrips the cost of providing that troop.

From the UN: "Peacekeeping soldiers are paid by their own Governments according to their own national rank and salary scale. Countries volunteering uniformed personnel to peacekeeping operations are reimbursed by the UN at a standard rate, approved by the General Assembly, of a little over US$1,028 per soldier per month."

It is fairly certain that the total cost per troop to a country like Nepal is not anywhere close to $1028/month. Maybe $1028/year?

Re:Why Nepal is sending troops elsewhere? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44606719)

I strongly agree that the UN should have the balls to acknowledge facts, mind you, I'm not sure what the facts are.

The facts are as follows:
- Haiti (not the UN) asked for help. The UN helped.
- Some of the people who showed up were sick, which is pretty normal when you're pulling people in from all over the planet.
- Local sanitation was non-existent. Haiti has always had sanitation problems, the Earthquake made them worse. But in this case, the base wasn't directly affected by the quake, the sanitation problems were pre-existing.
- Following the quake, there are literally tens of thousands of people living in horrific conditions, and the government has done little, if anything, to try and improve that situation.

So frankly speaking it's a little bit dishonest to claim that the epidemic is anybody's "fault". It's Cholera, it's well-known, it's treatable. In a normal situation it wouldn't be that big of a deal. But because Haiti has an essentially non-functional government and public health system right now, it's a big deal. So it's not really the UN's fault any more than it's the fault of Haiti, or the fault of the people who refuse to leave the tent camps and setup some place with less fecal material in the drinking water.

Re: Why Nepal is sending troops elsewhere? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44608199)

You might want to read up on the 9-year history of MINUSTAH in Haiti. Hint: They weren't there because of the earthquake.

Re:Why Nepal is sending troops elsewhere? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44606869)

The bitch of it is that this can be solved by giving every hatian a bottle of bleach. That's all it takes. All. Just put a little bit of bleach in the water and let it sit for 2-3 minutes.

Re:Why Nepal is sending troops elsewhere? (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606465)

This [academia.edu] (ignore the facebook bullshit, not needed to just read it online) offers some interesting theoretical tidbits.

The UN [un.org] explains the financial side.

"Peacekeeping soldiers are paid by their own Governments according to their own national rank and salary scale. Countries volunteering uniformed personnel to peacekeeping operations are reimbursed by the UN at a standard rate, approved by the General Assembly, of a little over US$1,028 per soldier per month."(Some countries pay an additional stipend to soldiers on peacekeeping operations, large enough to be significant in areas with low salaries)

I'd imagine that it's partly that Nepal is one of the countries poor enough that they can deploy peacekeepers for profit(the UN standard rate, per soldier, is paid in USD and identical across contributing nations, so it goes a hell of a lot further in some countries than in others, depending on local pay scales and willingness to accept casualties) and partly Nepal's history of fielding soldiers as part of (English speaking, which is convenient for international peacekeeping missions) British colonial activities.

Re:Why Nepal is sending troops elsewhere? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44606551)

Poor as hell.

There is your explanation, for Nepal, and Nepalese, it's worthwhile. For the UN, they're cheap, compared to American or French soldiers.

See also:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_number_of_UN_peacekeepers

Bangladesh tops the list. Surprised?

Re:Why Nepal is sending troops elsewhere? (2)

erikkemperman (252014) | 1 year,28 days | (#44606755)

See also:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_number_of_UN_peacekeepers

Bangladesh tops the list. Surprised?

Not really. Other than its being a poor country, I mean. Little known fact, Bangladesh is one of the most populous countries on the planet, ranking at #8 at the moment. More inhabitants than (post-Soviet) Russia, for instance, which is currently 9th.

List_of_countries_by_population [wikipedia.org]

Re:Why Nepal is sending troops elsewhere? (1)

Artifakt (700173) | 1 year,28 days | (#44608373)

Second little known fact; Bangladesh is essentially all lowlands/river delta type terrain. If AGW projections are right, even a pretty rosy one says Bangladesh will be hit very hard over the next 50 years or so, as in 20 million fatalities, mostly in a war for lebensroom. Midline projections mean that #8 on population will drop to about #107.

Re:Why Nepal is sending troops elsewhere? (5, Informative)

crmanriq (63162) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606603)

Why?

The UN pays $1023/month per troop.

A Nepalese soldier earns ~$100/month. (http://nepalarmy.mil.np/salary.php)
(A Nepalese general earns ~$300/month.)

Provide 1280 peacekeepers. (http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/snow/CMI18_E158_E163_2012_Nepalese_origin_supporting_information.pdf)
Cost approximately $128,000/month.
Receive compensation from UN of $1.3M. Profit > $1M/month.

Re:Why Nepal is sending troops elsewhere? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44606787)

Exactly. It gives their army something constructive to do, provides training and real-world experience to a lot of young men, and, incidentally, brings in a reliable stream of hard currency (the UN, backed by US coffers, probably has a very nice credit rating).

As one of the posters above also stated, a whole lot of UN troops are provided by relatively poor but 'good' / 'neutral' countries ;-)

Re:Why Nepal is sending troops elsewhere? (2)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | 1 year,28 days | (#44607563)

That's very close to the truth. One minor detail: UN Fees. The United nation charges all member states a fee. Sending troops to various places for peace keeping missions is one way of paying that debt. I think that comes off the top before they pay the country for the troops. Still profitable though.

Re:Why Nepal is sending troops elsewhere? (1)

AdamHaun (43173) | 1 year,28 days | (#44607687)

Provide 1280 peacekeepers.
Cost approximately $128,000/month.
Receive compensation from UN of $1.3M. Profit > $1M/month.

Take-home pay is not the only expense. Flying people back and forth to the other side of the world and keeping them supplied is not free, especially in a place with minimal infrastructure. Whatever profit Nepal is making, I doubt it's over $1M/month.

Re:Why Nepal is sending troops elsewhere? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44606735)

The Gurkhas are the only soldiers the Taliban actually fear.

It's the tradition of a warrior culture. (1)

Medievalist (16032) | 1 year,28 days | (#44606929)

Why Nepal is sending troops elsewhere? They're poor as hell and need aid of their own and they have rebels.

For the same reason they always have. Because they are poor as hell and they would rather kill and die in order to send home an honest paycheck than beg the rich for potentially toxic [amazon.com] aid.

United Nations jeopardizes its ... moral authority (1, Flamebait)

Nutria (679911) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606291)

Bwahahahahahahaha. The UN lost it's moral authority decades ago, when it became nothing more than a organ to bash Israel and the US.

Re:United Nations jeopardizes its ... moral author (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44606371)

Bwahahahahahahaha. The UN lost it's moral authority decades ago, when it became nothing more than a organ to bash Israel and the US.

Both deserve to be bashed.

Re:United Nations jeopardizes its ... moral author (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44606653)

Shh, don't get in Nutria's attempt to present the US and Israel as the persecuted victims of the UN's bullying.

He's busy justifying his moral outrage which he will use to suppress any criticism or moral qualms he might have.

It's the typical action of tyrants.

Re:United Nations jeopardizes its ... moral author (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44606701)

Perhaps it's you that deserves to be bashed. Just sayin'

Re:United Nations jeopardizes its ... moral author (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44607703)

Bwahahahahahahaha. The UN lost it's moral authority decades ago, when it became nothing more than a organ to bash Israel and the US.

Both deserve to be bashed.

totally agree

Re:United Nations jeopardizes its ... moral author (2)

Dishevel (1105119) | 1 year,28 days | (#44608387)

Bwahahahahahahaha. The UN lost it's moral authority decades ago, when it became nothing more than a organ to bash Israel and the US.

Both deserve to be bashed.

totally agree

Possibly.

But why should the US pay so much to be attacked and belittled? Can we not get that for free?

Re:United Nations jeopardizes its ... moral author (1)

operagost (62405) | 1 year,28 days | (#44608169)

No, they don't. Bashing does nothing, especially while countries run by brutal dictatorships are allowed membership on human rights committees.

Re:United Nations jeopardizes its ... moral author (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44606527)

No. It lists its authority when they did nothing worthwhile during the Rwanda genocide and the Bosnia genocide. TWO genocides and they did nothing.

The UN deserves to be laughed at and not be taken seriously.

The Palestine/Israel situation is another reason. But not due to bashing Israel, but for not being able to do anything at all to solve the conflict.

Re:United Nations jeopardizes its ... moral author (3, Informative)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606725)

Yeah, I totally recall how the UN wasn't involved in bosnia at all. Or maybe that's the opposite of what is true [wikipedia.org]

Re:United Nations jeopardizes its ... moral author (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44606917)

Bullshit. They did nothing. They released resolution afterwards declaring them genocides and tried to prosecute to aggressors. But that's it.

Yes, they declared to extend their mission to serbian Bosnia. In reality and effectively they just watched and did nothing worthwhile for weeks and months.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srebrenica_Massacre
"In April 1993, the United Nations declared the besieged enclave of Srebrenica in the Drina Valley of north-eastern Bosnia a "safe area" under UN protection. However, in July 1995, the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), represented on the ground by a 400-strong contingent of Dutch peacekeepers, Dutchbat, did not prevent the town's capture by the VRS and the subsequent massacre."

"Then in 2005, in a message to the tenth anniversary commemoration of the genocide, the Secretary-General of the United Nations noted that, while blame lay first and foremost with those who planned and carried out the massacre and those who assisted and harboured them, great nations had failed to respond adequately, the UN itself had made serious errors of judgement and the tragedy of Srebrenica would haunt the UN's history forever"

In a nutshell : you are talking bullshit, you don't deserve the mod points and the UN did nothing. End of.

Re:United Nations jeopardizes its ... moral author (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44606805)

*lost, not lists. Sorry.

Re:United Nations jeopardizes its ... moral author (4, Informative)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | 1 year,28 days | (#44607131)

No. It lists its authority when they did nothing worthwhile during the Rwanda genocide and the Bosnia genocide. TWO genocides and they did nothing.

The UN deserves to be laughed at and not be taken seriously.

The Palestine/Israel situation is another reason. But not due to bashing Israel, but for not being able to do anything at all to solve the conflict.

The UN is just the international community of countries. If they can not agree on a action to take, that's the fault of all the states and their communication. Don't act like the UN is some external entity. It's just the states!

So I read what you and GP say as

The international community of countries became nothing more than a organ to bash Israel and the US.

The international community of countries deserves to be laughed at and not be taken seriously.

I don't think that makes any sense.

Yes, it is fair to criticize when intervening action is not taken, and we can also criticize that unanimous agreement is necessary. Latest example: Syria.

When criticizing China and Russia however, you have to make sure not to be hypocritical. The US is picking the best options for itself on many other issues: Isreals arbitrary settling policies, ignoring international treaties, not subjecting itself to international courts, no extradition, starting illegal wars (Iraq, Afghanistan).

Re:United Nations jeopardizes its ... moral author (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44608435)

"starting illegal wars (Iraq, Afghanistan)."

Iraq is fair, Afghanistan is not, because the latter was almost unanimously approved by the UN and was supported by a plethora of other countries because of that.

Re:United Nations jeopardizes its ... moral author (-1, Flamebait)

Dog-Cow (21281) | 1 year,28 days | (#44607261)

The Israel/Arab conflict is not resolvable in any way that resembles a humane solution. The Arabs want the entire Arabian Peninsula to be free of Jews. The only solution they will accept is Holocaust II.

Re:United Nations jeopardizes its ... moral author (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44606557)

um the UN is just a cover for the US. and fuck Israel.

Re:United Nations jeopardizes its ... moral author (1)

interval1066 (668936) | 1 year,28 days | (#44607287)

um the UN is just a cover for the US. and fuck Israel.

I don't think so, relations between the UN and the US haven't been really good for some time now, and Israel has shown time and time again that it doesn't a fuck what the UN says. The UN is just a fucknut of an org run by fucknut politicians.

Re:United Nations jeopardizes its ... moral author (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44606629)

Oh, get over it. The world does not revolve around the US or Israel, and neither does the UN, but there's certainly some grounds for bashing here. Every country needs a good bashing every once in a while, like when they do something stupidly illegal. If the US or Israel or any other country always abided by internationally agreed-upon laws, then there wouldn't be any grounds for bashing by the UN.

Picking a couple of examples, where is it written in international law that it's okay to establish settlements in occupied territory, on the opposite side of a cease-fire line? Where is it written that it's okay to send armed drones into sovereign territory to kill alleged or avowed terrorists without the permission of the host country? Oh yes, there are real terrorists there that are causing problems and nobody's saying to do nothing. That's not the issue. The issue is whether it is permissible to violate international law to go get them, or whether the UN shouldn't scold you if you do ("free pass if for sake of terrorists" isn't an international law either). And despite however illegitimate the UN supposedly is, that didn't stop the US from seeking and getting justification for occupying Afghanistan for legitimate reasons when it was attacked, and practically the entire world was supportive. Apparently the UN is a convenience when it agrees with you, but not if it doesn't.

What you've got here is a neighborhood asshole complaining about other people sometimes ganging up and calling them an asshole who doesn't follow the rules, and doing so for years and years in a public forum. Boo hoo. Deal with it. Complying with international law that your country has signed is an alternative option rather than complaining about the rest of the world's opinion when you don't.

Re:United Nations jeopardizes its ... moral author (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44606771)

Picking a couple of examples, where is it written in international law that it's okay to

Nowhere. There is no such thing, never has been, never will be. By definition. The only way for there to be "international law" is for there to be an "international government", and once you have that it's not "international" any more it's just one big empire. The phrase "international law" is just a short way of summing up the idea of a collection of agreements, treaties, etc. which have the appearance of being equal to law- it's still up to each country to pass their own laws (or not) and to decide if they want to go along with the rest of the "international community".

Where is it written that it's okay to send armed drones into sovereign territory to

It doesn't HAVE to be written any where. It's a decision which is up to the country whose borders were violated- if they're OK with it then it's nobody else's place to bitch about it.

The point of the UN is not to act as a world government. It's a forum where the major world powers can get together and hash things out through diplomacy instead of everybody just showing up to the Party with bombs and guns.

Re:United Nations jeopardizes its ... moral author (2)

interval1066 (668936) | 1 year,28 days | (#44607299)

Nowhere. There is no such thing, never has been, never will be.

Maritime Law is infact just such a thing. Also the world court in the Haig would disagree with you.

Re:United Nations jeopardizes its ... moral author (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44606707)

Could your possessive pronoun lose its apostrophe?

Right on. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44606751)

Moral authority rightly belongs only to those who have the strength of will and the genetic and religious purity to wield it.

Re:Right on. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44606953)

Fuck "religious purity". That's nonsense and has nothing to do with morals. Quite the opposite.

And WTF is "genetic purity"? Are you an asshole Nazi, motherfucker?

Re:Right on. (0)

someSnarkyBastard (1521235) | 1 year,28 days | (#44607321)

No, just trollbait

Re:United Nations jeopardizes its ... moral author (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44606937)

US doesn't play by any rules, moral or otherwise. Neither do most other countries, but they get in more trouble than they can handle if they go to far, because they are not as powerful as the US. Therefore, any international body with any moral authority at all is naturally going to spend most of its time pointing out US wrong-doing. It would be the same thing if some other country was most powerful - that country would then most likely start doing more bad things and would therefore constantly be reprimanded for them. So the thing you think disqualifies the UN from having moral authority is the very thing that any international body with moral authority would necessarily have to do. Your view of the world is up-side down.

Re:United Nations jeopardizes its ... moral author (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,28 days | (#44607381)

it became nothing more than a organ to bash Israel and the US.

How does this get a +4? The US uses UN resolutions to justify and defend its attacks on other countries.

Re: United Nations jeopardizes its ... moral autho (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44607417)

I'll take the UN over some illiterate US citizen that can't even punctuate, any day!

Re:United Nations jeopardizes its ... moral author (0)

ChrisMaple (607946) | 1 year,28 days | (#44607889)

The U.N. is significantly worse than you say. As the majority of member states are thief-nations, they use the U.N. to weaken and steal from the U.S.A..

Scariest Worlds Ever.. (1)

Kadagan AU (638260) | 1 year,28 days | (#44607893)

We're from the government, and we're here to help

Boil your water (5, Informative)

Smidge204 (605297) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606307)

Cholera is one of those things that can easily be kept at bay with education and best practices.

1) Boil your water before drinking or using in any food that will not otherwise be cooked thoroughly.

2) Develop better latrine habits

These two things can go a long, long way towards beating the epidemic.
=Smidge=

Re:Boil your water (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44606349)

Better latrine habits, eh? Why are still letting your boyfriend pee in your ear and poop on your balls?

While I might be wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44606359)

The comments back when the storm hit were: 'Haiti is a deforested muddy shithole, and that is part of why the damage was so bad.'

Putting that into perspective: Maybe there wasn't adequate supplies of combustibles to keep their water clean.

Assuming their drinking water WAS clean, who's to say they weren't doing other stupid things, like bathing/fishing in the contaminated water and inadvertantly passing it on via whatever else they were doing. (It's not like you'd need more than a few tainted items to spread it like the plague during a disaster like that.)

Re:Boil your water (4, Informative)

oodaloop (1229816) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606391)

That might be helpful advice for a first world nation, but this is Haiti.

Re:Boil your water (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44606393)

Fuel shortage is a major issue in Haiti; most of their trees are gone, so boiling all drinking water is more difficult than it sounds.

Re:(wish you could) Boil your water (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44606437)

Lack of proper sanitation facilities and lack of fuel (or other means) to decontaminate water often go together. Sure, education is great, but what do you do with the sewage of many thousands of people in a very small space and scarce resources?

Re:(wish you could) Boil your water (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | 1 year,28 days | (#44608027)

You hand out shovels and let them dig their own pit toilets.

This isn't complicated and is a life or death issue. I'm shocked that Gerka's didn't know to do this for themselves.

Re:(wish you could) Boil your water (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44608359)

>You hand out shovels and let them dig their own pit toilets.

FALSE. This works in rural areas, but not in refugee camps, or cities with hundreds of thousands or millions of people.

Poverty is fundamentally different from your life.

Re:(wish you could) Boil your water (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | 1 year,28 days | (#44608443)

If you have more people crapping, you also need more people digging.

Pit toilets scale.

The problem is pit toilets are in the commons, without a mechanism to reward the diggers, nobody digs. They all get sick.

Re:Boil your water (4, Informative)

T.E.D. (34228) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606665)

The problem here is that in most of Haiti there's no power. The obvious answer may be to just burn wood, which is why the entire country has already been denuded of trees [wikipedia.org] . You can actually see their border with the Dominican Republic from space because one side has trees, and the other doesn't.

Re:Boil your water (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44607871)

Umm... they do know they can plant new ones, right??

Re:Boil your water (2)

phantomfive (622387) | 1 year,28 days | (#44606967)

1) Boil your water before drinking or using in any food that will not otherwise be cooked thoroughly

Believe it or not, boiling your water is a really expensive habit, especially in a poor country. It's easier to purify it with chlorine (and even Hatians should be able to afford that since a few drops will purify a gallon). The biggest difficulty, I've found, comes from bathing. How do you bath without getting some of the water on your lips? Quite a conundrum.

Re:Boil your water (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44607723)

Dig swimming pool close to river. Put thick plastic to prevent leaking in / out of water. Fill with river water. Pour a few drops of chlorine per gallon.

UN always slow to acknowledge... (-1, Troll)

harvey the nerd (582806) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606313)

I expect it will be at least another 10 years before the UN admits its IPCC CAGW was a con job.

Yay cholera, KILL KILL KILL! (-1, Flamebait)

LoRdTAW (99712) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606337)

Thank god we yet again have another epidemic to cleanse those shit colored monkeys from the face of the earth. Hail AIDS.

Re:Yay cholera, KILL KILL KILL! (1, Interesting)

LoRdTAW (99712) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606409)

I apologize for this comment. It was not me who wrote the parent comment. This is what happens when you leave ./ open with a vindictive coworker lurking about.

Re:Yay cholera, KILL KILL KILL! (1)

Sockatume (732728) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606421)

Re:Yay cholera, KILL KILL KILL! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44606483)

(ac) Solid gold, upvote for you.
(ac) DISREGARD THAT, WRONG WEBSITE.

Re:Yay cholera, KILL KILL KILL! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44606687)

Hey racist man: lock ur screen.

Re:Yay cholera, KILL KILL KILL! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44607541)

Bullshit. You forgot to hit the checkbox and now everyone knows you are a worthless, racist human being.

The UN isn't to blame for shitty sanitation (4, Interesting)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606339)

Even if they did accidentally bring cholera in, it's the terrible state of sanitation in Haiti that has turned it into an epidemic. Haiti would have likely seen cholera even if the UN hadn't come in. Someone would have just brought it in later. And I dare say they help the outsiders have provided has far outweighed any harm they've done.

Re:The UN isn't to blame for shitty sanitation (4, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606451)

It's not a zero-sum game: the cost involved in preventing it happening is so low that it's a no-brainer to send in the aid without bringing in a monstrously contagious disease, so the UN should be considering this idea even as a matter of principle.

Of course that'd mean looking past the idea that one is being blamed for something one is not responsible for. Lots of people lose their pragmatism in that situation.

Re:The UN isn't to blame for shitty sanitation (3, Insightful)

Nyder (754090) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606459)

Even if they did accidentally bring cholera in, it's the terrible state of sanitation in Haiti that has turned it into an epidemic. Haiti would have likely seen cholera even if the UN hadn't come in. Someone would have just brought it in later. And I dare say they help the outsiders have provided has far outweighed any harm they've done.

And yet for a century Haiti hasn't had a cholera problem...

You know, you are going to die someday, so maybe you should hurry the process and do it now. You know, since its going to happen one day anyways...

Re:The UN isn't to blame for shitty sanitation (1)

cerealito (814622) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606477)

+1

First rule of nation building (4, Funny)

Gothmolly (148874) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606351)

Know what to do with poop. If you don't know this, you can't help other people do it. When you learn what to do with poop, then you can help other people with their poop.

Re:First rule of nation building (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44606741)

This is pure proof that the UN just doesn't know shit.

Does it matter? (1)

Cyberax (705495) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606365)

First, there's no evidence that UN has started the cholera epidemic. No bacterial strain genotyping has been performed. Second, in such cases a cholera epidemic is more-or-less a certainty - it makes no sense to search for the index case, especially because choleric bacteria occur naturally.

Re:Does it matter? (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606503)

First, there's no evidence that UN has started the cholera epidemic. No bacterial strain genotyping has been performed. Second, in such cases a cholera epidemic is more-or-less a certainty - it makes no sense to search for the index case, especially because choleric bacteria occur naturally.

O Rly? [asm.org]

Of Note. (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606395)

The UN claims immunity under the "Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations" [undp.org.vn] , which is largely what it sounds like.

However, Article VIII "Settlement of Disputes" states that:

Section 29. The United Nations shall make provisions for appropriate modes of settlement of :

(a) disputes arising out of contracts or other disputes of a private law character to which the United Nations is a party;

(b) disputes involving any official of the United Nations who by reason of his official position enjoys immunity, if immunity has not been waived by the Secretary-General.

Section 30. All differences arising out of the interpretation or application of the present convention shall be referred to the International Court of Justice, unless in any case it is agreed by the parties to have recourse to another mode of settlement. If a difference arises between the United Nations on the one hand and a Member on the other hand, a request shall be made for an advisory opinion on any legal question involved in accordance with Article 96 of the Charter and Article 65 of the Statue of the Court. The opinion given by the Court shall be accepted as decisive by the parties.

So, the Convention under which they claim immunity requires them to "make provisions for appropriate modes of settlement"(something which apparently hasn't happened since 1946, no doubt Coming Real Soon Now) and makes the UN an entity subject to ICJ jurisdiction in the event of a dispute between a UN member state and the UN itself.

It certainly is the case that the random Nepalese troops who actually introduced the Cholera enjoy diplomat-grade immunity under this convention (and, even if they didn't, their actual crime is probably some sort of relatively minor sanitary code violation); but the assertion that the UN, as an organization, enjoys immunity is suspect at best.

Re:Of Note. (0)

locopuyo (1433631) | 1 year,28 days | (#44607931)

Maybe they were immune, but they were still carriers.

UN's Fault? (2)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606405)

The article said the Nepalese were billeted at a Haitian miltary base with poor sanitation. "...Because of inadequate water and sanitation facilities at the base, cholera-infected sewage contaminated the Artibonite River..." implying the Haitians had been dumping sewage into the river themselves at least since the disaster. This was an accident. I'm no big huge fan of the UN, but they were there to *help* fer goshsakes, and for Haiti to attack them is wrong.

Re:UN's Fault? (3, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606457)

I think the UN has a responsibility to ensure that if any of its troops have cholera, they're not at a base with poor sanitation, as an organisational lesson if not a matter of responsibility and blame.

Re:UN's Fault? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606543)

I'm pretty sure that the first rule of helping is "Don't introduce a hitherto absent, highly contagious, disease to a country infrastructurally incapable of coping with it, killing more than 7,000 and sickening just short of 600,000."

Well, maybe not the first rule; but one of the important ones. Virtually every country (even two-bit ones where these controls are largely nominal because the border functionaries are deeply inadequate to the task) has rules in place to avoid the introduction of novel crop pests and at least some diseases, so it isn't as though the concept is a novel one.

Failing to perform a "Do our staff harbor any diseases that would spread like wildfire in a country with ghastly sanitation and minimal resources" check before heading into a country with ghastly sanitation and minimal resources is somewhere between incompetence and reckless indifference.

Re:UN's Fault? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44606773)

To put this in some perspective I'll bet dozens of people, if not hundreds or even thousands, have been to Haiti while carrying cholera. We don't know yet if the UN forces were responsible, aware or even had the slightest reason to suspect that the sewage from the base was contaminating, or was going to contaminate, the major water supply of the country.

Now none of that means they shouldn't be accepting that the troops were the source now while not passing judgement on who is responsible for it becoming an outbreak until all the information is collected. It also doesn't mean that we shouldn't learn from this and consider it more formally in future, however I wouldn't be too hasty to blame countries for wanting to get help in quickly after a disaster until we know the negative consequences were predictable beforehand.

How can you admit to that? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606425)

We just killed tens of thousands of people. woopsy!

Re:How can you admit to that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44606611)

oopsy poopsy!

Re:How can you admit to that? (-1, Troll)

Salgak1 (20136) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606681)

They're merely chagrinned that they weren't Americans that died. . .

(I fully expect this to be considered a troll, rather than a statement of the general opinion of an "average" member of the UN towards the US)

Re:How can you admit to that? (1)

N1AK (864906) | 1 year,28 days | (#44606815)

I fully expect this to be considered a troll

It's either a troll or evidence of someone with a victim complex.

It says a lot about some American's inability to see that they aren't perfect that a body like the UN which is extremely timid towards the US is seen as rabidly anti-US to them.

Re:How can you admit to that? (1)

interval1066 (668936) | 1 year,28 days | (#44607319)

Uh.. what?? You wanna restate that in English?

which muppet would you have sex with? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44606447)

please post the muppet's name followed by why

Focus on solving the problem (5, Interesting)

dcooper_db9 (1044858) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606487)

It's a mistake to point the finger at the United Nations. As the original editorial noted, Haiti does not have a system to deliver clean water. Any time you have 90 percent of a population drinking from the sewer it's only a matter of time before you have an outbreak. Past efforts to build a modern clean-water delivery system have been thwarted by civil war, endemic corruption and general ineptitude

Haiti doesn't need another failed aid project. What Haiti needs is a bureaucracy to construct and manage their own infrastructure. Haiti also needs to build a judicial infrastructure that's capable of rooting out corruption.

Re:Focus on solving the problem (4, Insightful)

Salgak1 (20136) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606705)

Ahem. One of the more important tasks of ANY modern military garrison is to ensure hygiene. Starting with sewage and waste disposal. . . . A century or more ago, disease often killed more troops in the field than the actual fighting did. . .

Re:Focus on solving the problem (1, Flamebait)

interval1066 (668936) | 1 year,28 days | (#44607337)

It's a mistake to point the finger at the United Nations.

No its not. The UN contionues to fuck up and generally do really stupid things, and you say its a mistake to blame it? Right.

Old news, for physicians anyway (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44606549)

I remember reading an article perhaps 9 months after the cholera outbreak, I think in the New England Journal of Medicine about how the epidemiologists had identified the source of the cholera infection to the Nepalese troops. It's fairly absurd that the UN has continued to deny that this happened for well over 2 years.

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1012928

Re:Old news, for physicians anyway (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606723)

In fairness to the UN, it should be noted that (the face of overwhelming 'evidence' from those fancy 'biologists' that they could no longer deny) the UN has changed its position from "Cholera? Wasn't us, probably just Haiti being filthy." to "Yeah, it was us; but we enjoy impunity, haha."

It's always nice to see somebody owning up to their mistakes.

Everyone donate 10 dollars again to fix this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44606595)

Your money won't disappear this time, honest!

Re:Everyone donate 10 dollars again to fix this. (1)

vswee (2040690) | 1 year,28 days | (#44607191)

Here, just take my whole wallet kind sir.

the United Nations jeopardizes its moral authority (1)

Culture20 (968837) | 1 year,29 days | (#44606645)

What a phrase.

A small price to pay (1)

Baldrson (78598) | 1 year,28 days | (#44607351)

Spreading deadly diseases from country to country -- allowing them to evolve increasing virulence through horizontal transmission -- is a small price to pay for open borders.

Conspiracy Theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44607977)

When cholera was first found in Haiti the media laughingly portrayed the Haitian whom claim the UN was responsible as conspiracy theorists.

Butt Pickens (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44608009)

Another great article by Butt Pickens dot COM

Old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44608119)

I read an article on this last year - I thought everyone knew that the UN latrines were to blame for the cholera outbreak in Haiti.

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