Scroll down and look at the sidebar of the blog, you'll notice something new: a "cholera counter."
Friends at Just Foreign Policy have created the counter to raise awareness about the cholera epidemic, and to apply pressure on the United Nations to do the right thing - accept responsibility for introducing cholera to Haiti and step up efforts to address it.
You can get the counter for your own blog or website here.
Ben learned this week from someone at Doctors Without Borders (who are currently managing the bulk of the country's cholera treatment centers) that all but one of their centers is maxed out. Today's update from the Center for Economic and Policy Research rounds up the very sobering statistics.
Just Foreign Policy says:
"We created this counter in order to educate the public about the ongoing cholera crisis in Haiti.
Prior to October 2010, there had not been a reported incident of cholera in Haiti in over a century. Since then, over 500,000 cases have been reported, including 7,000 deaths. Scientific evidence strongly suggests
that UN troops from Nepal, which was suffering from an outbreak of the
disease at the time, carried cholera with them to their assignment in
Haiti. Then the UN's faulty sanitation system contaminated a tributary of the Artibonite River, the longest and most important river in Haiti. Even a UN panel has conceded this point. Bill Clinton, who serves as UN Special Envoy to Haiti, has admitted that UN troops were the "proximate cause" of the epidemic, and US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice has acknowledged
that the UN played a role. Yet, the UN refuses to accept formal
responsibility and it has done little to help treat, prevent, and
control the disease.
A number of initiatives are underway to pressure the UN to do more in
addressing Haiti's cholera crisis. The Institute for Justice and
Democracy in Haiti has filed a lawsuit on behalf of 5,000 cholera victims. A Congressional letter to Ambassador Rice urges UN authorities to play a central role in addressing the epidemic. Recently, a New York Times editorial made a strong statement in support of this goal. And we have set up a petition that presses the UN to take formal responsibility.
But in order to make the pressure effective, we need to raise awareness. That's where this counter—and you—come in."
Get the counter here. And while you're at it, sign the petition.