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UN Suffers Heavy Losses in Haiti

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The UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Edmond Mulet has arrived in Port-au-Prince. The tasks facing him are very tough. He will take over the top position at the UN mission in Haiti and help coordinate international relief efforts. The first several hours in the shattered city have been very emotional for him.

Debris and rubble sit where the UN office building once was, unrecognizable and striking. There may still be traces of life underneath, but no one can say for sure.

Edmond Mulet, UN assistant secretary-genreal, said, "Well of course it's a very emotional moment for me. We had a six story high building standing behind me and now you can see it's only one story. And we know that between 50 or up to 100 people are buried there, and we don't know what's gonna happen."

The massive earthquake in Haiti reduced the UN mission building to ruins. So far 36 UN personnel have been confirmed dead. Up to 100 people remain missing, including the Mission Chief, Hedi Annabi, and his Chief Deputy. But the world body must move forward. As lives hang in the balance, there is no time for grief.

Edmond Mulet said, "Of course the first priority right now for the mission is to put the mission back on its feet and to restructure the mission to make it efficient. And then with the mission back and functioning, then we will be able to be better in serving the interests of the Haitian population."

UN agencies have been working around the clock to provide urgently needed assistance to quake victims. The mission building may be destroyed, but continuing the work is the best way to commemorate their deceased colleagues.

(CCTV January 16, 2009)

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