Cholera “forever destroyed” the image of the UN in Haiti, says Ban Ki-moon
“This disaster destroyed the reputation of the United Nations in Haiti forever,” Mr. Ban wrote in the book. “I am sickened that the country has not fully recovered. “
“Resolved: Uniting Nations in a Divided World,” Mr. Ban’s memoir, was published this month by Columbia University Press and devotes a chapter to Haiti and the work of the UN in this country, the poorest in the world. the western hemisphere. Freed from the constraints of the office, Mr. Ban went further than he had done when he was secretary general in describing what he believed were the problems he was facing with Haiti.
A victims’ compensation fund established by Mr Ban towards the end of his term, funded by voluntary contributions from member states, had less than $ 20 million on Sunday, a fraction of the $ 400 million he had requested . Several diplomats told Mr. Ban that their governments “do not want to pay the UN debts resulting from our own negligence,” Ban said in the book.
Recalling his own traumatic visit to Haiti a week after the January 2010 earthquake, with large parts of the capital Port-au-Prince in ruins, including the presidential palace, Mr. Ban dwelled on what ‘he described as that of Mr. Préval. apparent inability to cope.
“He had not even sent a message of hope to the Haitian people, and I strongly urged him to do so,” Ban recalled. “But he looked so shaken he didn’t know what to do. In fact, he was terrified. He was panicked. “
Mr. Préval, whose presidency ended in 2011, died in 2017.
Mr. Ban acknowledged that the 8,500 United Nations peacekeepers who were deployed to Haiti from 2004 to control criminal gangs “were not liked by Haitians, who often thought that peacekeepers had stirred up violence instead of suppressing it ”.
Partly because of the misperception of peacekeepers, he said, Haitians were predisposed to believe that a Nepalese contingent of the peacekeeping force had introduced cholera to the country when cases were first reported in October 2010. Almost six years later, after three inquiries, Mr Ban said there was “no doubt” the Nepalese had left fecal waste to contaminate a river widely. used for drinking, bathing and washing.