Senators call on United Nations to accept responsibility and take steps to respond to public health emergency
Washington (July 22, 2016) – As Haiti continues to suffer from a cholera epidemic that has resulted in more cases and deaths than any other known cholera outbreak in the Americas, Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called on the State Department to address the crisis and urge the United Nations (UN) to take responsibility and appropriate steps to remedy the public health emergency. An independent report found that faulty sanitation from the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti introduced the cholera bacteria, which has since led to more than 731,000 suspected cholera cases and nearly 9,000 deaths since 2010.
“The United States should utilize its leadership position to stress the importance of UN accountability and action to remediate the ongoing impact of cholera in Haiti,” write the Senators in the letter to Secretary of State John Kerry. “We respectfully urge the State Department to press the UN to take responsibility for the cholera crisis in Haiti and undertake a meaningful response that moves the Haitian people toward a long term resolution of this public health crisis.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
In the letter, the Senators state that the United States is in a unique position to facilitate a dialogue with the UN and other global partners and help implement a long-term sustainable health strategy to address the epidemic. Senators Markey and Rubio point to preventative measures such as developing nationwide water and sanitation systems, building latrines, enhancing access to medical facilities, and continuing to distribute hygiene interventions and vaccines to help respond to the cholera outbreak.