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 Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.

    More Americas News

    Pope to OK Use of Indigenous Languages for Mass in Mexico

    Move before trip to the country next week is symbolic gestures in defense of Indian rights

    Ecuador Sacks Military Top Brass Over Questioned Land Deal

    Armed Forces apparently sold 66 lots to Environment Ministry for $48 million, but report from Attorney General's office says they were worth only $7 million

    Video Zika Virus Dubbed Inconsequential Except for Link to Microcephaly

    Virus fairly harmless overall, health expert says, but possible link to thousands of babies born with underdeveloped brains causing alarm worldwide

    Obama Ramps Up Aid to Colombia as Peace Deal With Rebels Nears

    Leaders mark anniversary of joint initiative begun to help end armed conflict, drug trade; Obama calls Colombia a country 'on the brink of peace'

    Peru Board Weighs Another Presidential Election Disqualification

    Julio Guzman didn't fulfill requirements when registering his party, National Jury of Elections says; Cesar Acuna may also be barred because of plagiarism probe

    Colleagues' Defection Outrages Argentine Opposition Party

    Move by 12 Front for Victory members alters balance of power in Congress, exposes power struggle within country's broad Peronist movement