Last month, a report authored by a group of former United Nations scientists used DNA testing to link the cholera bacteria responsible for the outbreak to UN peacekeepers from Nepal. The evidence, which offers strong support for the UN’s culpability, caused international outrage and demands that the United Nations take responsibility for its unintentional infection of Haiti earthquake victims.
However, while the Nepali workers may have brought the cholera into Haiti, according to Rita Colwell, former director of the National Science Foundation and renowned climate change researcher, unusually warm weather and other climate change factors also contributed to the rapid spread of cholera in the months following the earthquake’s devastation in Haiti.
“Climate change and cholera have a complicated link,” Colwell said in an exclusive interview with United Nations based media agency UNEARTH News published August 7. “As far as Haiti is concerned, the disease outbreak was triggered by a complicated set of factors. The precipitation and temperatures were above average during 2010 and that, in conjunction with a destroyed water and sanitation infrastructure, can be considered to have contributed to this major disease outbreak.”