India to foot bill for vaccinating peacekeepers sent to Haiti without cholera vaccination

Peacekeeping personnel from India sent to Haiti without cholera vaccinations, a serious lapse on India's part, are getting inoculated there and New Delhi would foot the bill.

The peacekeeping personnel who had not received vaccination prior to deployment would be vaccinated and the costs of inoculating them in the field would be deducted from the reimbursements to the countries sending them, Stephane Dujrraic, the spokesperson for secretary-general Antonio Guterres told reporters yesterday.

Dujarric's comments came in response to reports that an Indian contingent sent to work as police in peacekeeping operations in Haiti had not been vaccinated against cholera, which had killed 10,000 Haitians in an epidemic that started in 2010.

"Cholera vaccination is mandatory for all peacekeepers deployed in peacekeeping operations," he said. "It is the responsibility for member states to ensure that their personnel receive all mandatory vaccination prior to deployment."

The UN said there were 440 Indians serving as police in its Haiti peacekeeping operations as of August.

Sending police or troops that had not been vaccinated against cholera, to Haiti was a serious matter in view of the magnitude of the toll from the epidemic that was linked to peacekeepers from Nepal and blamed on improper disposal of waste that contaminated local water supplies.

Meanwhile, the UN is probing Indian peacekeepers for arriving at the Caribbean country without the mandatory cholera vaccination.

Over 100 personnel of the Assam Rifles, India's oldest paramilitary force, landed in Haiti last year in July-August after being certified by the home ministry as having taken the vaccine.

The UN is now seeking a clarification from the Indian government as to why it confirmed that the troops had been vaccinated.

The UN had been particularly dismayed as it had been accused of causing the cholera outbreak in Haiti in 2010.