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Haitians sue UN over cholera epidemic

NEW YORK — Nearly 1,500 Haitians filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking compensation from the United Nations for victims of a cholera outbreak that health officials say has killed more than 8,000 people and sickened over 600,000 in the impoverished Caribbean nation.

Scientific studies have shown that cholera was probably introduced in Haiti by UN peacekeepers from Nepal, where the disease is endemic.

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon rejected a previous claim for compensation for cholera victims, citing diplomatic immunity, but announced a $2.27 billion initiative to help eradicate cholera in Haiti in December 2012.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Brooklyn federal court seeks compensation for deaths and illnesses and funding for clean water in Haiti, which was devastated by a 2010 earthquake.

The suit includes documents the plaintiffs say clearly show that the UN waived its immunity.

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