UN names panel to lead Haiti cholera probe

The UN has named four experts who will lead an investigation into the source of a cholera epidemic in Haiti.

Last Updated: Jan 07, 2011, 13:36 PM IST

United Nations: The United Nations has named four experts who will lead an investigation into the source of a cholera epidemic in Haiti, which some have blamed on UN peacekeepers.

"Determining the source of the cholera outbreak is important for both the United Nations and the people of Haiti," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement released by his spokesman yesterday.

"The panel will seek to determine the source of the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti. They will review all of the information and data available to date and travel to Haiti to conduct investigations on the ground," added the statement.

"The panel will operate completely independently from the United Nations and will have access to all UN records, reports, facilities, and staff members as required. It will present a written report of its findings to the secretary general and to the government of Haiti." Cholera has killed more than 3,300 people and infected 150,000 since it appeared in the impoverished Caribbean nation in October, according to latest Haitian government figures.

Some blamed Nepalese peacekeepers in the UN force in Haiti and there were protests against the contingent.

The panel will be led by Alejandro Cravioto, a Mexican who heads the International Center for Diarrhoeal Disease Research in Bangladesh.
The other three members are Claudio Lanata of Peru`s Institute for Nutritional Investigation, Daniele Lantagne of Harvard University in the United States and Balakrish Nair of the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases in India.

Ban said he worked with the World Health Organization and other international bodies to find experts on leading technical experts in public health, epidemiology, microbiology and water and sanitation for the independent panel.

Ban has been "been deeply concerned by the cholera outbreak in Haiti since the first cases were detected," said the statement.

"The members of the panel have been selected based on their global stature, expertise and extensive experience working with cholera in all its aspects," it said.

Bureau Report