Print options

January 12, 2010

French Foreign Minister Says UN Chief in Haiti Likely Dead

by Lisa Bryant

Bernard Kouchner says Hedi Annabi likely among a number of U.N. staff who died in the earthquake

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said the United Nations mission chief in Haiti is likely among those dead in the devastating earthquake that hit the Caribbean island on Tuesday.

Kouchner told French radio stations that Hedi Annabi was probably among a number of U.N. staff who died in the earthquake.

Kouchner said Mr. Annabi appeared to have been in the U.N.'s Port-au-Prince headquarters that collapsed in Tuesday's deadly earthquake. He said all those in the building at the time were probably dead as well. The U.N. said in a statement that a number of personnel were unaccounted for. The U.N. peacekeepers have been in Haiti since 2004.

France has dispatched two planes to Haiti, carrying rescue specialists, police and medical staff. Italy and Britain are also among the European nations sending emergency teams and aid to the devastated island.

Meanwhile, the European Union announced it was earmarking nearly $4.4 million in emergency aid to Haiti.

The earthquake that struck Tuesday afternoon, local time, is the most powerful Haiti has experienced in two centuries. It has turned thousands of buildings and homes into rubble. The International Red Cross estimates about three million people have been affected by the quake - roughly a third of the population.