UN Military Base Suspected Source of Haiti Cholera Outbreak

Share this post...

Submit to DiggSubmit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to StumbleuponSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
[For complete article features, please see original at Ezili Danto's Notes here.]

UN's leaking, foul waste and unsecure septic tanks in Mirebalais is said by Haiti mayor to be the possible source of the Haiti cholera outbreak. Haiti residents in the Mirebalais, Artibonite and Central Plateau regions of the cholera outbreak are demanding an independent non-UN investigation of the case.*

According to the people in the rural regions where the outbreak started its the oozing foul feces waste from the Nepalese UN base in Mirebalais that's on the ground flowing across a path and into the Meile river that feeds the Artibonite river.

But, yesterday, October 26, 2010, without providing any scientific proof, pathology tests or details showing there's no cholera infection amongst their UN soldiers coming from cholera-vulnerable countries, the UN Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti (MINUSTAH) denied that its Nepalese soldiers are the source of the ongoing outbreak of cholera in rural Haiti.

MINUSTAH has a Nepalese contingent in Mirebalais. Nepal regularly has cholera outbreaks, one of the last ones occurring in September 23 at Kathmandu, Nepal's capital and at Nepalgunj, Nepal in August of 2010 infecting 1400 and leaving 8 dead. (Nepal: Cholera outbreak in Kathmandu, September 23, 2010; Cholera outbreak in Nepal under control, says WHO.)

According to Haiti's president and health minister, Haiti has never before found cholera in the country. (Haitian cholera epidemic preventable, by Ezili Dantò, October 27, 2010.)

But many of the UN soldiers including soldiers from India, Nepal, Nigeria, Chad, Niger, et al... come from countries where cholera regularly rears its head. Haiti officials believe the cholera virus was imported into Haiti. One of the most persistent suspects of such an import is the Mirebalais base near the bank of the Meille River that feeds into the Artibonite River and rural region where the Haiti cholera outbreak began in Haiti on October 19, 2010.

Laguerre Lochard, the mayor of Mirebalais, along with many of the citizens of Mirebalais accuse this UN base to be the source of the cholera outbreak that infected more than 4,000 Haitians as of this writing and killed upwards to 300. Mayor Lochard and Mirebalais residents say they've seen, with their own eyes, waste from this UN base spilling out, leaking and also some area residents say they have seen the soldiers relieving themselves at the Meille river, which feeds into the Artibonite River and is at the exact location where the outbreak started. They worry because these Nepalese soldiers may be infected without showing symptoms. The rains, storms and downpours, they say, perhaps carried their infections South where the people of Haiti are now dying in droves. (For additional info on other possible foreign toxins that could have caused the first ever cholera outbreak in Haiti and to read more on Red Cross handing out dirty water to earthquake victims, go to Is Haiti's deadly cholera outbreak an imported disease? by Ezili Dantò.)

Also, "just this week ninety-nine cholera cases were confirmed in Pakistan. There are Pakistan UN MINUSTAH soldiers, as well as soldiers from other known cholera regions, stationed in Haiti who also could have come into Haiti with the infection." (Is Haiti's deadly cholera outbreak an imported disease?)

For instance, an October 26, 2010 (guardian.co.uk) news report states that cholera killed more than 1,500 people in Nigeria and infected nearly 40,000 in the worst outbreak in 20 years.

There are Nigerian UN soldiers also in Haiti. The Nigerian outbreak has affected Niger and Chad, which are also countries having UN MINUSTAH soldiers in Haiti. Haitians are as worried about these disease importations as they are about their earthquake sufferings being used to increase the wealth of the 14,000 NGOS living off their pains and making a business out of poverty in Haiti.

The UN mission to Haiti makes approximately $760million per year in Haiti and provides 14,000 jobs to US and US friendly-countries off Haiti's back.

It's no news to Haitians that there is more violence in most of the countries in the UN MINUSTAH mission than in Haiti. Brazil, for instance, heads the UN MINUSTHA mission and make 20% of the $760million per year as an administration fee. Its violence rate is 52.2 per 100,000 people, whereas Haiti's violence rate is a mere 5.6 per 100,000 according to UN figures. Even the US has a higher violence rate (5.7) and , in some place, a higher HIV rate (Washington DC - HIV rate 3.0) than Haiti (HIV rate 2.2). The HIV rate in the Bahamas is also higher at 3.0 percent as it is in Washington , D.C. where Congress seats.

But Haiti constantly gets picked on so these folks may go to Congress or the unsuspecting but compassionate US public and lift up monies to pay their salaries, living expenses, carry on with disaster capitalism, profit-over-people ways and live the good Island life behind the do-gooder mask while Haitians die, get further indebted to the likes of Monsanto or chained to Bill Clinton's assembly-plant wage "development" visions, lose their lands and Haiti's mineral/gold/copper/ coal/oil/gas reserves and other riches. ( See, The Plantation called Haiti: Feudal Pillage Masking as Humanitarian Aid ; Poverty Pimps Masturbating on Black Pain: Monsanto Joins pack ; and Colonization of Haiti's food and seeds not earthquake relief ; and Haiti: I Can't Stand the Rain ; and Haiti Oligarchy & the World Profit-Over-People System, Prt 1; and Haiti: Even on these ashes we continue to fight for freedom.; and Who is Rajiv Shah, What are Haiti concerns about Shah/USAID.)

"Responding to the charge, made by Mirebalais Mayor Laguerre Lochard that there are no Haiti cholera cases up-river from the Nepalese soldiers' UN base, who he says contaminated the Meile river that, in turn, probably contaminated the Artibonite river, the UN denied it spread the cholera that infected Haitians.

The UN mission asserted that it used proper procedures to dispose of its soldiers' feces. But, Haitian observers ask what if the septic tanks leaked or were not properly disposed by the hired UN subcontractor or the otherwise properly buried contaminated feces somehow seeped into Haiti's ground water with the recent downpours, storms and floodings?(See, Is Haiti's deadly cholera outbreak an imported disease? by Ezili Dantò ; and, Une maladie importée, la MINUSTAH clame son innocence .)"

According to the Earthtime report, the UN stated its Nepalese contingent and base in Mirebalais "uses seven septic tanks. These tanks have, however, been built in accordance with the regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the mission said. The septic tanks in question are emptied every week by a subcontractor's trucks, which then take their load to a site, which has "the authorization of the municipality of Mirebalais," the statement stressed. "It is 250 metres off the Meille River, which is more than 20 times the internationally required distance," MINUSTAH said."

But, in an October 27, 2010 article entitled, UN probes base as source of Haiti cholera outbreak, AP reported:
"The U.N. issued a statement on Tuesday defending the base. It said the Nepalese unit there uses seven sealed septic tanks built to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards, emptied every week by a private company to a landfill site a safe 820 feet (250 meters) from the river.

But those are not the conditions AP found on Wednesday.

A buried septic tank inside the fence was overflowing and the stench of excrement wafted in the air. Broken pipes jutting out from the back spewed liquid. One, positioned directly behind latrines, poured out a reeking black flow from frayed plastic pipe which dribbled down to the river where people were bathing.

The landfill sites, across the street, are a series of open pits uphill from family homes. Ducks swim and pigs wallow in pools of runoff. The pits abut a steep slope which heads straight down to the river, with visible signs where water has flowed during recent heavy rains.

The people who live nearby said both the on-base septic tank and the pits constantly overflow into the babbling stream where they bathe, drink and wash clothes.

"The water is no good at all. You shouldn't wash in it," said Jean-Paul Chery, a sand miner who lives near the human-waste pits with his wife and five children.

Lochard, the mayor, said he had told Nepalese officers not to place the landfill sites in that location but never received feedback from peacekeeping headquarters in Port-au-Prince.

Pugliese (the UN Mission spokesman ) denied that the reeking black flows from the base were human waste, saying that the only liquid investigators was testing came from kitchens and showers. He said the pipes had only been exposed for the tests, though he could not explain why the liquid inside them was allowed to flow toward the river.

The samples were collected in mid-morning by uniformed military personnel, who scooped black liquid into clear jars with U.N. sky-blue lids. About a half hour later, as AP and Al Jazeera journalists stood by, the Nepalese troops began hacking around the septic tank with pickaxes and covered the exposed pipe jutting from behind the fence, but did not plug it.

Then tanker trucks from the contractor, Sanco Enterprises S.A., arrived to drain the septic tank and dump their contents across the street in the waste pits. As the septic tain drained, the flows behind the base stopped.

The waste company's CEO, Marguerite Jean-Louis, accompanied the trucks in an air-conditioned white pickup truck. She declined to comment, citing her contract with the U.N."

Sewage trucks from the Nepalese base of the MINUSTAH mission is dumping sewage directly into the river that's the source of water to the Central Plateau and the Artibonite areas where the water-borne cholera disease outbreak started in Haiti. AP has also shown that the residents of Mirebalais are not paranoid and crazy. They said they saw feces directly from the toilets in the Nepalese base oozing into the river. The Al Jazeera video proves it. Yet, the UN is sticking to their story that they've used all precautions and met EPA standards in disposing of their waste in Haiti. How many such UN bases are similarly affecting Haiti's water supplies? Who will investigate the investigators , the reputed humanitarians, aid workers and their test results for and on behalf of the disenfranchised in Haiti?

The UN investigating the UN to see if the UN brought cholera to Haiti is not very assuring to Haitians being helped to death by the various "humanitarian aid" units in Haiti since the democratically elected president was deported back to Africa by Bush the son.

Unlike the United States, Haiti directly votes for its president. No electoral college intermediaries bolstering up the traditional oligarchy. So Haiti's oligarchy depends on US might, unfair trade monopolies and USAID and their NGO's financial support to keep the masses voiceless, disenfranchise and contained in poverty. There are 192 member nations in the UN. Five have veto power. But the UN and US want to bring "democracy" to Haiti and others! Fact is, the UN has been a tool of injustice, empire's incessant resource wars and of colonialism to maintain the balance of power of the post WWI allies/Security Council veto power anti-democrats against the other 187 member nations ever since they were implicated in the death of Patrice Lumumba of the Congo. (See UN Is Not For Africans by Magalie X Djehouty-Thot, Haitian Perspectives, May 2006 and The Ezulwini Consensus - The Common African Position on Proposed Reform of the United Nations.)

More than 300 Haitians have died of cholera and over 4,700 are now infected, hospitalized. The UN is announcing that cholera will remain in Haiti for "years to come" and the epidemic may kill "tens of thousands" of Haitians.

Given the grave nature of these charges and the UN's obvious interest in making self-serving declarations of innocence, the Haitian government ought to step up and investigate. But, as we know, these are puppets ruling under UN/US occupation riveted to the short term economic thinking of the global corporatocracy. Haitians have every reason to be terrified of the aid organizations that replaced their democratically elected government with the UN occupation and un-elected NGO invaders. Life has been a million times worst for Haiti since then. There's so much cruelty raining on their heads behind the mask of humanitarian aid. It goes from 300,000 dead in 33 seconds, to Obama’s silent continuation of the previous Bush policies in Haiti, to the militarization of aid and no rubble removal, to Hillary Clinton bringing in Monsanto, Bill Clinton using his UN position and directing donor energies to bring in more assembly plants in the last 10 months than clean drinking water, health care or housing for the two million homeless to more misery to agony, to the private charities raking in the donation dollars for themselves to no school, no jobs, no recovery, no relief and now, to cholera. ( I Can't Stand the Rain .)

So, at minimum, there ought to be an independent investigation or an international tribunal inquiry into this possible importation of the cholera virus on behalf of the people of Haiti by nations or epidemiologist entities who have no vested interests in the current international crimes, fraud and poverty business being so meticulously carried out against defenseless Haiti.

Ezili Dantò of HLLN  

Recommended HLLN Links:

A chilling video testimony of brackish Red Cross water in Haiti- How the Red Cross ill-used your donations. For another compelling testimony on Red Cross delivering filthy water to Haiti victims ever since the earthquake, view also: How did the Red Cross spend $106 Million Dollars in Haiti: (Ezili Dantò's note: Amongst some of the testimonies that's not clearly translated in this most valuable video: a woman standing next to a small child repeating "no, no, no," points to a water drum with a "Red Cross" sign on it and says that even the water they give is not treated. She explains that she drinks it because she has no money to buy good drinkable water but suffers right now from a stomach ache from drinking the Red Cross' polluted water.)
"The cholera outbreak need not have happened. Shows the failure of the international relief effort." ---Ezili Dantò - Haitian cholera epidemic preventable, October 27, 2010

Aljazeera Video, October 27, 2010 — Haiti cholera outbreak water contamination UN soldiers Nepal batallion base Mirebalais sewage. (Watch it below.)

Is Haiti's deadly cholera outbreak an imported disease? by Ezili Dantò

Share this post...

Submit to DiggSubmit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to StumbleuponSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
back to top