News / Americas

UN Chief Promises to Expedite Aid to Haiti Victims

Ban Ki-moon visited the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, Sunday to assess the current relief effort

United Nations, Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon,damage, U.N. Headquarters,Port-au-Prince, 17 Jan 2010
United Nations, Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon,damage, U.N. Headquarters,Port-au-Prince, 17 Jan 2010

U.N. Chief Ban Ki-moon has promised to expedite the massive humanitarian aid he says is needed to help Haitians stricken by last week's massive earthquake. The secretary-general visited the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, Sunday to assess the current relief effort and express his support to the Haitian people.

Mr. Ban's convoy traveled through several areas of Port-au-Prince Sunday, where broken buildings and shattered lives were on display.

Dozens of makeshift camps have been established in parks, school yards, anywhere there is an open space, to shelter those whose homes were demolished or are too structurally dangerous for them to return to.

The United Nations says one-in-three Haitians is in need of assistance following last Tuesday's massive quake, and another million are homeless. Mr. Ban told Haitians, help is arriving.

"For a small country like Haiti, this is a tsunami like disaster," Mr. Ban said. "This is a major catastrophe, and a huge humanitarian crisis, whose full dimensions we may not even know yet, particularly outside the capital. It requires a correspondingly massive response and help."

The death toll has been estimated in the tens of thousands, but there are also still scores of people missing.

The United Nations, which has some 12,000 personnel in Haiti as part of its stabilization mission, has confirmed the deaths of more than 40 staff. Among them, the chief of the mission and his deputy. 

But on Sunday, there was a glimmer of hope that miracles can still happen.

An American search and rescue team working at the collapsed headquarters of the U.N. mission discovered Jens Kristensen, a civil affairs officer, buried in the rubble. They worked for hours to slowly shift the debris that trapped him, and at 2 p.m. (local time) he was pulled out alive.

The rescue happened just moments after Mr. Ban visited the site where most of the U.N. losses occurred. He spoke with rescuers and U.N. staff and then accepted the flag that had been flying at headquarters the day the quake struck. It will be displayed at U.N. headquarters in New York as a memorial to the fallen colleagues.

Search and rescue missions continue throughout Port-au-Prince. Some of the more than two dozen international teams that have arrived in Haiti could be seen working at sites of other collapsed buildings in search of survivors.

Mr. Ban assessed the physical breadth of the destruction from both the ground and air, using a helicopter to get an aerial view.

Journalists accompanying him also got a look at the widespread devastation.

Damage could be seen in neighborhoods with tightly packed houses and in slums along the hills of the capital. Some houses had collapsed with a domino-effect.  Others had slightly toppled over to one side, while some had slid down hills. Many had collapsed on themselves.

At the city's Cathedral, only two partial walls remain. Nearby, the Presidential Palace is uninhabitable. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister's office is so damaged that neighbors have turned the garden into a camp.

Long gas lines could be seen at the few functioning stations and garbage was piling up across the city.  Access to basic services is still severely limited and people are depending on food aid to survive. Concerns are growing that a frustrated, hungry and exhausted populace could turn violent.

On Monday, officials said the Secretary-General will ask the U.N. Security Council to temporarily authorize an additional 850 peacekeepers and 400 police for the Haiti mission, to assist with the humanitarian effort and deter instability.

As one U.N. official put it, "things were slowly improving here, and then the bottom dropped out of Haiti's world." 

You May Like

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Venezuela's 'Busman' President to Make UN Debut

Nicolas Maduro says he will travel to New York despite 'racist' editorials against him in major US newspapers
More

Police: Mexican Cartels Trafficking Cocaine Direct From Colombia

General Ricardo Restrepo, Colombia's anti-narcotics director, says cartels have arrived 'basically to negotiate and transport the drug themselves'
More

Former El Salvador President to Await Graft Trial in Jail, Not at Home

Francisco Flores, who had been on the run until early Sept. before turning himself in, accused of misappropriating $15M in 2001 earthquake relief donations
More

US Won't Impede Venezuela's UN Security Council Bid

Washington is clearly unhappy, however, with idea of country joining the Council, which has the task of overseeing international peace and security
More

Video Dehydration Is Top Killer of Southern Arizona's Migrants

US Border Patrol's search and rescue unit launches 'blue blinking light of life program' - a series of poles strategically placed throughout desert that emit high-intensity blue light
More

US Steps Up Pressure on Guatemala Over Labor Rights

Trade representative says Obama administration will push ahead with legal action under free trade agreement to make country meet international standards
More