U.N. ramps up Haiti cholera efforts

Feb. 22, 2013 at 8:48 AM
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The United Nations said it has increased efforts to eliminate cholera in Haiti, though claims victims brought against the organization are "not receivable."

A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that legal action brought on behalf of victims of the cholera outbreak won't be considered.

"Today, the United Nations advised the claimants' representatives that the claims are not receivable pursuant to Section 29 of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations," spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

Ban told Haitian President Michel Martelly the United Nations is committed to increasing efforts to eliminate cholera.

"Since the outbreak began in 2010, the United Nations and its partners have worked closely with the people and government of Haiti to provide treatment, improve water and sanitation facilities and strengthen prevention and early warning," Ban said.

Cholera has been a problem in Haiti since the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake devastated large areas of Haiti and people were forced to live in tent cities with limited sanitation facilities.

The United Nations launched an initiative in December to provide oral vaccines and investments to Haiti's National Cholera Elimination Plan, U.N. News Center said. The funds will go toward prevention, treatment and education, as well as a focus on clean drinking water and sanitation systems.

"The secretary-general again expresses his profound sympathy for the terrible suffering caused by the cholera epidemic and calls on all partners in Haiti and the international community to work together to ensure better health and a better future for the people of Haiti," Nesirky said.

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