- Title: HAITI: UN secretary general calls earthquake a 'tsunami-like disaster'
- Date: 18th January 2010
- Summary: PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI (JANUARY 17, 2010) (REUTERS) UN SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON AT A PRESS CONFERENCE CAMERAMAN (SOUNDBITE) (English) UN SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON SAYING: "I am here to say we are with you. You are not alone. Help is already arriving. For a small country like Haiti, this is a tsunami-like disaster. This is a major catastrophe and huge humanitarian crisis whose full dimensions we may not even know yet particularly outside the capital." JOURNALIST ASKING QUESTION (SOUNDBITE) (English) UN SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON SAYING: "There is no such question about who is running the show alone. All members of the international community are very closely coordinating. For example rule of law and security on the streets of Haiti are now being taken care of by the UN peacekeeping operations while the U.S. military are now assisting humanitarian aid." JOURNALISTS LISTENING BAN LEAVING BAN MEETING WITH INJURED UN PERSONNEL
- Embargoed: 2nd February 2010 12:00
- Location: Haiti
- Country: Haiti
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes
- Reuters ID: LVABO6WW2ABMYELK5I0T2UYFEQ9R
- Story Text: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the devastating ruins of the United Nation's mission headquarters (MINUSTAH) in Port au Prince Sunday (January 17), where 14 of his staff had been killed, including the mission's head Hedi Annabi.
The five-story building, also known as the Christopher Hotel, collapsed last Tuesday (January 12) following a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake.
Ban was accompanied by the new head of the mission Edmond Mulet, who briefed him on the operation being carried out by the rescue team.
After receiving a UN flag from a Haitian staff member, Ban said the United Nations would continue its work, despite its loss.
"I'll carry this in memory of our colleagues who have given their lives for peace - for the cause of peace. I am very saddened to have seen all this destruction - has cost the United Nations and our dear colleagues. But I believe that their dearest wish would be that we carry forward," Ban said.
Haiti is the Western Hemisphere's poorest country and has for decades struggled with devastating storms, floods and political unrest. Around 9,000 U.N. peacekeepers have provided security since a 2004 uprising ousted one president, but the mission lost at least 40 members when its headquarters collapsed, including its top leaders.
Later at a news conference Ban called the earthquake a 'tsunami like disaster'.
"This is a major catastrophe and huge humanitarian crisis whose full dimensions we may not even know yet particularly outside the capital," he said.
Dozens of nations have sent planes with rescue teams, doctors, field hospitals, food, medicine and other supplies, but faced a bottleneck at the airport, where fuel was scarce. Some groups complained that their flights were diverted to the neighboring Dominican Republic, forcing them to carry emergency supplies into Haiti overland.
The UN Secretary General was asked about who was in charge in Haiti - the United States or the UN.
"There is no such question about who is running the show alone. All members of the international community are very closely coordinating. For example rule of law and security on the streets of Haiti are now being taken care of by the UN peacekeeping operations while the U.S. military are now assisting humanitarian aid," Ban said.
He added they were all working with the Haitian government.
Haiti's government is struggling to operate as the quake destroyed the presidential palace and knocked out communications and power. Preval is living at the judicial police headquarters and holding cabinet meetings with foreign ambassadors outside, seated on a circle of plastic chairs.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2011. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None