Thursday, January 14, 2010

UN in Haiti: Death Toll Rises as Peacekeepers Deploy to Prevent Looting, Distribution of Food and Water Starts

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UNIC Washington
January 14, 2010
Michael Reyes
United Nations Washington
Tel: 202-331-8670

UN in Haiti: Death Toll Rises as Peacekeepers Deploy to Prevent Looting, Distribution of Food and Water Starts


The UN building in Haiti

The UN headquarters in Haiti. Logan Abassi/MINUSTAH via Getty Images 


The acting head of the UN mission in Haiti told reporters this afternoon that UN Peacekeepers have fanned out across the capital of Port-au-Prince, where tens of thousands of survivors are sleeping out on the streets with little water and food available to them.


"It looks like a ghost-town," said Kim Bolduc, the UN's Resident Co-coordinator in Haiti. "But there are still many bodies on the street, and so many survivors have nowhere to go. The distribution of food and water has started."


The UN's lead spokesman in Haiti, David Wimhurst, told reporters via a videolink to New York that the UN death toll stood at 36, with 73 injured and 178 missing, unaccounted for. He said rescue teams had not given up hope of finding survivors in the rubble of the UN Headquarters, especially after an Estonian protection officer was saved this morning, almost unscathed after 30 hours below the wreckage.


Earlier in New York, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that a UN team headed by Edmond Mulet, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping and formerly head of the UN operation in Haiti, would take charge as soon as they arrived today.


Welcoming the deployment of US troops, announced by President Obama this morning, the Secretary-General said, "Our force commanders and Edmund Mulet will be co-coordinating closely with the American military." Asked about his Special Representative Hedi Annabi, missing since Tuesday, Ban said, "I pray for him. We should always hope for a rescue."



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