Rioting Against the UN in Haiti is Hurting Efforts to Contain Cholera

The UN is warning that the anti-UN riots that have sprung up in a number of cities are undermining efforts to contain the cholera epidemic.

From the UN News Center:

“We call upon all involved in these clearly orchestrated demonstrations to stop immediately so national and international partners can continue to save lives with our response to the cholera,” the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Haiti, Nigel Fisher, said yesterday.

“Every day we lose means hospitals go without supplies, patients go untreated and people remain ignorant of the danger they are facing. It is vital that everything possible is done to contain this outbreak in Cap Haitien while we still can – but this is very difficult in the current environment.”

Speaking on behalf of the humanitarian community in the country, Mr. Fisher warned that the security situation in Cap Haitien is preventing vital supplies from reaching the area, where medical staff are overwhelmed and cholera deaths are climbing.

Cap Haitien is located in the Nord Department, or administrative region, which currently has the highest cholera fatality rate in the country – 7.5 per cent.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that the UN has been forced to cancel flights carrying soap, medical supplies and personnel to Cap Haitien and Port de Paix.

The UN peacekeeping mission is insisting these riots are organized by groups who stand to gain politically from whipping up anti-UN sentiment. (Haiti’s presidential elections are at the end of the month.) MINUSTAH released a statement which read, in part: “The way the events unfolded suggests that these incidents were politically motivated, aimed at creating a climate of insecurity on the eve of elections.”

PBS Newshour has an excellent summary of the fallout from the anti-UN riots in Haiti.