UN chief launches probe of Haiti cholera epidemic

UNITED NATIONS, (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General  Ban Ki-moon announced yesterday the creation of an independent  panel to investigate Haiti’s cholera epidemic, which some  Haitians have blamed on U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal.  

More than 91,000 people have been sickened by cholera and  over 2,000 have died in Haiti since the outbreak started in  October. Last month, protesters stoned a U.N. patrol and  shouted slogans accusing the U.N. mission of bringing the  disease.  

Last week, U.S. researchers reported that the cholera  strain came from south Asia and mostly closely resembled one  circulating in Bangladesh. The United Nations has so far said  there is no scientific evidence the Nepalese battalion is  responsible and all tests on its troops have proved negative. 
 
But with the accusations persisting, Ban said, “There  remain fair questions and legitimate concerns that demand the  best answer that science can provide.” 
 
He told reporters that after consulting World Health  Organization chief Margaret Chan he was setting up an  international panel that “will be completely independent and  have full access to all U.N. premises and personnel.”

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