News / Americas

UN Says At Least 16 Personnel Killed in Haiti Quake

Multimedia

Audio

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said late Wednesday that at least 16 U.N. personnel with the peacekeeping mission in Haiti perished in the powerful earthquake that shook the Caribbean nation on Tuesday. Mr. Ban called on the international community to assist the people of Haiti and said the U.N. would be at the forefront of the coordination effort.

Mr. Ban said of the fatalities that 11 were Brazilian peacekeepers, and the others were police officers - three from Jordan and one each from Argentina and Chad. Fifty-six other personnel have been confirmed injured.

Officials say some 150 others remain unaccounted for, among them the mission's chief, veteran diplomat Hedi Annabi. There have been reports that he is dead, but Mr. Ban said the U.N. is still working to confirm his status.

To the Haitian people, Mr. Ban had this message: "To the people of Haiti I say this: We are with you. We are working quickly, as fast as humanly possible."

The U.N. chief said what is most urgently needed now are well-equipped search and rescue teams.

"People buried under the rubble are still alive. We must save them, as many as possible, and we must move immediately," he said.

Brian Wagner, a VOA correspondent who arrived in Haiti Wednesday evening, reported seeing planes from several countries, including some military aircraft, as well as emergency crews and supplies.

The United Nations says that the airport is "fully operational" despite heavy damage to the control tower. Both U.N. and U.S. officials have confirmed that the Americans will take control of airport operations once their teams are in place.

As part of his coordination efforts, Mr. Ban spoke Wednesday with U.S. President Barack Obama, who he said assured him that he would deploy "all possible, available resources" to help overcome the crisis.

Former President Bill Clinton is the U.N.'s Special Envoy for Haiti. He met with Mr. Ban at U.N. headquarters and then accompanied him to a meeting of member states, at which he urged individuals and countries to be generous in their support of Haiti.

The United Nations is usually in the frontlines of disaster response, but this catastrophe has been different, in that the helpers are also among the victims. U.N. Peacekeeping Chief Alain LeRoy told reporters that the earthquake could lead to the one of the highest ever fatalities in a U.N. peacekeeping mission.

"It is clearly one of the most horrible tragedies for a U.N. peacekeeping mission," he said.  "We are receiving dozens and dozens of volunteers from other peacekeeping missions who are offering their services, who want to go to Haiti to help. So we have received a lot of solidarity among the U.N. family, but of course it is one of the most tragic days for U.N. peacekeeping."

But for now, U.N. staff are putting aside their own grief and putting their energy into saving those who can be saved and easing the plight of some three million people who were in the earthquake's path.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles 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.
China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Lawi
X
William Ide
October 20, 2014 10:23 AM
China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Nigeria Agrees to Cease-Fire With Boko Haram

Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government have agreed to a cease-fire. The Nigerian government issued an order Friday, telling all military chiefs "to comply with the cease-fire agreement in all theaters of operations. Why now and the significance of the agreement are questions on some people’s minds. VOA's Mariama Diallo reports.
Video

Video Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

The offensive by Islamic State militants against the northern Syrian city of Kobani has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee to Turkey. They receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from the town of Suruc a few kilometers from the border.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Former Chilean Mayor Arrested for Pinochet-era Human Rights Crimes

Cristian Labbe, a retired colonel who later served as mayor of Providencia, is a subject of probe into rights violations, a government spokesman said
More

Poll: Venezuela's Maduro Approval Rating Drops to 30 Percent

Rating dropped from 35.4 percent in July to 30.2 percent in Sept., according to Datanalisis, amid ongoing economic crisis that has weighed on president's popularity
More

Uruguay's Roll-out of Marijuana Experiment Faces Election Risk

Ground-breaking experiment could be dropped or watered down if opposition candidate wins this month's presidential election
More

Polls: Opposition Has Slight Lead in Brazil Presidential Runoff

However, business-favorite candidate Aecio Neves is struggling to retain momentum that gave him a slight advantage over Dilma Rousseff in recent polls
More

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa
More

Video Miami Woman Serves as Guardian to Children of Immigrants

In 2013, administration deported 240,000 undocumented immigrants, many leaving behind children born in US; Nora Sandigo has helped nearly 1,000 of them
More