United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti MINUSTAH – News Updates

Haiti Earthquake Aftermath

News Updates from UN Stabilization Mission

In Haiti, Secretary-General vows support for quake victims

UN peacekeepers assist quake victim in Haiti

17 January 2010 – Touching down in the capital of Haiti, which was devastated by this week’s catastrophic earthquake, today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today pledged the United Nations’ support for the victims of the disaster.

The UN “will continue to stand behind the Haitian people,” Mr. Ban said in Port-au-Prince, the city hardest hit by the 12 January tremors, which are believed to have impacted one third of Haiti’s 9 million people. [Watch video]

Addressing reporters in the capital, the Secretary-General outlined three top priorities.

Firstly, he underscored the continued need for the search-and-rescue effort. Dozens of teams – comprising over 1,000 people – are on the ground trying to save survivors trapped under rubble.

A staff member, Jens Kristensen of Denmark, was pulled alive from the rubble of the Christopher Hotel today. [Watch video ]

Also essential, Mr. Ban stressed, is emergency relief, including food, water and tents, and these supplies are being distributed to those in need by the UN and its partner agencies.

“Third, and most important, coordination” of the emergency operation is vital, he noted.

‘The situation is overwhelming,” he said. “And the offer of assistance is also very moving and overwhelming.” (cont. at link below)

Rescuers still finding survivors in Haiti, UN reports

A survivor is pulled out of the rubble following the deadly Haiti earthquake

17 January 2010 – Search-and-rescue teams from around the world continue to work around the clock to pull survivors out of the rubble in the wake of Tuesday’s devastating earthquake in Haiti, the United Nations reported today, as Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other top officials visited the Caribbean nation to show solidarity with the Haitian people.

More than 70 people pinned by debris have been found alive, a record number for urban search-and-rescue operations following an earthquake.

Over 40 teams – comprising nearly 1,800 rescue workers and more than 160 dogs – are working tirelessly under difficult circumstances after the 7.0 magnitude tremors, which the UN estimates has destroyed 10 per cent of the buildings in the hardest-hit city, the capital, Port-au-Prince, leaving 300,000 people homeless.

“We haven’t given up hope of finding more survivors today,” six days after the tremors, said Jesper Lund, who is heading the global search-and-rescue operations under way in Haiti. “The teams won’t stop searching as long as there is still hope of finding survivors alive.”

The teams are using heavy equipment to penetrate through thick concrete and acoustic, seismic and optical fiberscope equipment to locate trapped survivors. So far, nearly two thirds of the worst-affected areas of the capital, Port-au-Prince, the city hardest-hit by the earthquake, have been searched.

“Every second counts,” Mr. Lund stressed.

UN scales up assistance to Haiti’s tremor victims

Helicopter releases first aid kits for Haiti quake victims

16 January 2010 – The United Nations is continuing to rush urgently-needed relief to Haiti, which was struck on Tuesday by a devastating earthquake that is estimated to have impacted one third of the people of the Caribbean nation.

Since the 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has reached 20,000 people with ready-to-eat food, aiming to feed nearly 40,000 people today in the capital, Port-au-Prince, the worst-hit city.

As part of its emergency operation, the agency plans to assist 2 million with one-week food rations, while also planning for food-for-work schemes to jump-start reconstruction and rehabilitation.

A plane carrying over 20 metric tons of high-energy biscuits landed in neighbouring Dominican Republic from El Salvador yesterday. They are set to reach the capital this evening via trucks. Another plane is scheduled to leave El Salvador today bearing more biscuits.

Information technology experts are en route to Haiti to fix communication capacities for WFP and the entire humanitarian community operating in the country, while solar panels, generators, laptops and wireless equipment is being flown in from Dubai.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported today that another planed carrying oral rehydration salts, water purification tablets and jerry cans touched down in Port-au-Prince this morning, the second load of UNICEF water and sanitation supplies to arrive in Haiti – where children comprise half of the population – in the past 24 hours.

“Providing access to clean water and sanitation is essential in the immediate aftermath of disasters, to avoid a second wave of deaths caused by diarrheal diseases such as cholera and dysentery,” the agency said in a press release. “Children are particularly susceptible to diarrheal diseases.” (cont. at link below)

Ban mourns deaths of top UN officials in Haiti quake

16 January 2010 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today paid tribute to the top United Nations officials who perished in the catastrophic earthquake which struck Haiti on Tuesday, voicing determination that the world body will persevere with its “noble work” in the impoverished Caribbean nation.In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said he was “deeply saddened” to confirm the deaths of his Special Representative to Haiti, Hédi Annabi, as well as his Deputy Luiz Carlos da Costa and Acting Police Commissioner Doug Coates of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.“In every sense of the word, they gave their lives for peace,” he said. [Watch video]The Secretary-General characterized Mr. Annabi, of Tunisia, as a “true citizen of the world” for whom the UN was his life. (cont. at link below)