Twenty one human rights, faith-based, and humanitarian organizations, including Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office, released a statement today calling on the United Nations to take responsibility for the deadly cholera epidemic in Haiti. This statement comes in the aftermath of tropical storm Isaac, which reportedly killed at least twenty four people and caused flooding. But due to the lack of clean water and sanitation infrastructure, the disease could spread further increasing the toll on human life. The letter states:
Local authorities expect cholera levels to spike after the rains and flash flooding brought by Isaac. When Haiti experienced heavy rainfall last April, cholera levels increased. The lack of adequate sanitation and safe drinking water in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps means that drinking water sources are likely to be contaminated by waste water when flooding occurs. According to medical experts, if the multitudes of Haitians living in camps are left without access to a potable water source, Isaac could carry contaminated water to new locations and exacerbate what is already a complex emergency. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs recently reported a “very weak” “capacity to respond to potential outbreaks,” such as could occur with a drenching tropical storm.
The statement also urges U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, to respond to a July letter from 104 members of Congress asking Amb. Rice to act decisively to address Haiti’s cholera crisis.
Click here to read the statement.
The statement was signed by the following organizations:
Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti; Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office; American Jewish World Service; TransAfrica; Church World Service; Life for Relief and Development; Management Sciences for Health; Operation USA; The Haiti Support Group; Alternative Chance; Other Worlds; Environmental Justice Initiative for Haiti; Government Accountability Project; Hastings to Haiti Partnership, University of California, Hastings College of the Law; Human Rights Clinic, University of Miami School of Law; Unitarian Universalists Service Committee; Grassroots International; Gender Action; Canada Haiti Action Network; Haiti Fund at The Boston Foundation; National Lawyers Guild International Committee