Humanitarian aid policy changes following the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti


  • Gagandeep Saini McMaster University



Haiti, cholera, United Nations, Vodou, Voodoo, Sanitation, Earthquake


The current cholera outbreak in Haiti arose as a result of inadequate humanitarian aid management by the United Nations following the 2010 earthquake in the country. Nepalese peacekeepers spread the water-borne disease through improper sanitation and waste disposal, resulting in re-emergence of the infection after 150 years. In 2016, the United Nations formally apologized for its role in the spread of the cholera epidemic that has killed more than nine thousand Haitians to date. Though many studies discuss the origin of the epidemic, there is a lack of comparison between initial response practices and current practices. Therefore, it is difficult to understand how disaster relief has evolved as a result of the Haiti epidemic. This paper argues that the training of humanitarian aid workers to avoid spreading infectious diseases like cholera in areas receiving disaster relief has not sufficiently improved. Specifically, this paper will analyze what recommendations were put forth following the 2010 Haitian earthquake and to what extent those recommendations have been implemented. By comparing past and current humanitarian aid practices in areas requiring disaster relief, this paper will outline the ways in which humanitarian practices need to change to prevent the spread of infections from emergency workers.