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

Photogallery US to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Expanded Ebola Effort

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Obama is to announce troop deployment, other details of US plans to fight Ebola outbreak More

China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa 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.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Chronically Hungry Numbers Decline

Three U.N. agencies have released the State of Food Security in the World report
More

UN: Enforced Disappearances Continue Unabated Globally

UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances says more than 43,000 cases from 88 countries still remain to be clarified
More

Hurricane Odile Weakens, Still a Threat to Mexico

Odile could drench Baja California with as much as 46 centimeters of rain by Friday
More

Powerful Hurricane Threatens Mexico's Baja California

US forecasters have downgraded Odile to strong Category 3 storm, with top sustained winds of 205 kilometers per hour
More

Hard-hitting Films Tackle Homelessness at Toronto Festival

'Time Out of Mind,' 'Shelter,' and 'Heaven Knows What' all focus on characters struggling with homelessness, addiction on the streets of New York
More

After Tax Reform Triumph, Chile's President Faces Rockier Road

'Honeymoon' may be over for Michelle Bachelet as protests rise and economy, security outlook worsen
More