The devastation caused by cholera is difficult to overstate. Families watched their loved ones suffer excruciatingly and die within hours of falling in, unable to save them.
Cholera is easily treatable and preventable with clean water and rehydration, but in the face of severe lack of resources, health and humanitarian actors have for years scrambled to respond.
Cholera is far from being an issue of the past. The UN estimates that another 30,000 people will be sickened in 2017. On average, cholera kills one person every day. Many of the hardest hit areas still lack potable water or adequate sanitation facilities.
Haiti was recently battered by Hurricane Matthew on October 2016. Cholera infection rates spiked which happens each time there is heavy rain. With limited access to safe drinking water, communities across the country live in fear of contracting the disease again.
For living families, cholera has created an impactful domino effect thats caused thousands of families to lose breadwinners and survive without a source of income.
Children have been orphaned and the lack of financial stability has caused many to be pulled out of school condemning them into intergenerational poverty.
Families have not only spent their life savings on burials, medical care and transportation to clinics but have also put themselves in debt using loans to give their loved ones proper funerals. Years later, debts remain unpaid while some sell their only productive assets in an attempt to alleviate their financial burdens.
The UN's harms are irreversible. While no compensation can fully make up for the lives lost, victims repeatedly stress the desperate need for modest, direct financial assistance to help them get back on their feet. By delivering on the New Approach, the UN can eliminate the threat of cholera and help address the harms to the victims. Making good on its promises will save thousands of lives in Haiti, and the UN’s own legacy.