"200 Feared Dead After UN Building In Haiti Crumbles."

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"200 Feared Dead After UN Building In Haiti Crumbles."

Post by 1916 on Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:33 pm

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6987011.ece

United Nations officials were bracing themselves yesterday for the highest one-day death toll in the organisation’s history.

As many as 200 UN staff, including the organisation’s top official in Haiti and his deputy, were buried in rubble after the collapse of the UN headquarters in the former Christopher Hotel in Port-au-Prince.

The death toll seems sure to surpass the killing in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1961 of 44 Ghanaian peacekeeping troops from the UN force set up after independence from Belgium. The bombing in 2003 of the UN office in Baghdad claimed 22 lives, including 15 formally listed as UN staff, among them Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN representative in Iraq.

“This, by any standards, will probably be the worst,” a UN official said yesterday.

Hedi Annabi, the Tunisian UN special representative in Haiti, was meeting a Chinese delegation in his office when the five-storey concrete building came crashing down shortly after the earthquake, which struck at 4.53pm local time on Tuesday. His body was found in the rubble last night.

“There are still over 100 people unaccounted for,” Alain LeRoy, the head of UN peacekeeping, said in New York. “We do not know about their fate.”

Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary-General, sent Edmond Mulet, the former UN special representative in Haiti, to take charge.

Mr Mulet, now the deputy head of the UN’s peacekeeping department, plans to assemble a team of specialists and fly to relieve exhausted staff in Port-au-Prince today. Having worked with many of those now buried beneath the rubble, he seemed overcome by grief at times yesterday as he hugged fellow staff fearful for their friends and colleagues.

A Brazilian military engineering unit serving with the 9,000-strong UN peacekeeping force in Haiti searched the wreckage for survivors.

Peacekeepers pulled several badly injured people from the rubble overnight while recovering “fewer than five” bodies.

Some UN workers in the building managed to escape, particularly from the lower floors, and were evacuated to a medical facility at the organisation’s undamaged logistics base near the capital’s airport.

A building adjacent to the UN headquarters also collapsed, trapping about ten UN Development Programme staff. Also hit was the luxury Montana Hotel, where many UN staff live. An official said that the hotel’s main building had collapsed.

The Jordanian Army said that three of its peacekeepers had been killed and 21 injured in the earthquake.

Initial pledges of aid for Haiti

£6million UN emergency relief fund

15,000 tonnes of food UN World Food Programme

£2.7million European Commission

Nuclear aircraft carrier and support ships with supplies United States

£1.3million Germany

150 tonnes of aid Spain

64-strong rescue team Britain

£3.5million, air search and rescue teams Canada

Military transport aircraft and field hospital Italy

130 rescuers, 12 tonnes of aid France

£1.8million, 60-strong rescue team Netherlands

Aircraft with field hospital Russia

Equipment and experts Belgium, Sweden, Luxembourg

£123,000 Taiwan
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Re: "200 Feared Dead After UN Building In Haiti Crumbles."

Post by Globe Hopper on Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:46 pm

Awful news. There always seems to be a big natural disaster around this time of the year, the Tsunami springs to mind.

It should be noted that in addition it is predicted that thousands of people have been killed in this, some sources claim that in excess of 100,000 people are dead.
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Re: "200 Feared Dead After UN Building In Haiti Crumbles."

Post by 1916 on Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:52 pm

Yes, it certainly is an absolute travesty what has occured today, the highest ranked officer in the "UN Peacekeeping Force" lost his life in the disaster, but that shouldn't take away from the fact that each life lost is just as terrible.
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Re: "200 Feared Dead After UN Building In Haiti Crumbles."

Post by chez on Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:19 pm

Anyone else noticed all the international aid coming in? The UN only pledged 6 million and the rest much less.

It's token aid, just a way of saying "Haiti is a strange place we don't care about it has no uses to us but for relations sake we'll give them some money". This is a lot more like throwing a pound coin to a busker than charity.
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Re: "200 Feared Dead After UN Building In Haiti Crumbles."

Post by Justinian on Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:58 am

Not sure if that is a fair statement Chez. Haiti was in a bad way before the earthquke happened, it was very much a 3rd world country. How much money is it going to take to bring living standards back to their previously low level? I commend the US's quick and well organised response too.
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