UN chief tells US it will combat cholera in Haiti

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has told members of the U.S. Congress that the United Nations is committed to helping Haiti overcome a cholera epidemic even though it is refusing to pay compensation to victims, who blame peacekeepers for starting the outbreak.

Ban was responding to a letter from 19 Congressional “friends of the people of Haiti” who expressed concern at the U.N.’s rejection of the claims by 5,000 cholera victims and their families.

The lawmakers urged the U.N. to take responsibility for introducing cholera into Haiti and oversee funding a $2.2 billion program over the next 10 years to improve access to clean water, develop sanitation infrastructure and address the cholera epidemic.

Ban’s response Friday expressed concern that “the austere fiscal climate” could affect new financial commitments to combat cholera.

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