Security Council Conveys 'Deepest Sympathy and Solidarity' to All Those Affected by Haiti Quake
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The Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations Zhang Yesui, who holds the rotating Security Council presidency for January, reads a statement at the UN headquarters in New York, January 13, 2010. Zhang said that the Council members "express their strong support for the government and people of Haiti in the aftermath of this devastating earthquake, and their strong support for international efforts to assist Haiti during the immediate and critical rescue and recovery efforts of the coming days." [Xinhua]
"The members of the Security Council convey their deepest sympathy and solidarity to all those affected by yesterday's earthquake (in Haiti) and to their families," the Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, Zhang Yesui who holds the rotating Council presidency, said Wednesday.
Zhang, speaking to reporters here at the end of an open Security Council meeting, said that the Council members "express their strong support for the government and people of Haiti in the aftermath of this devastating earthquake, and their strong support for international efforts to assist Haiti during the immediate and critical rescue and recovery efforts of the coming days."
At the request of the Council president before the Council began the open debate, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, representative of the Council members and heads of the regional organizations invited to attend the meeting to stood up for one-minute silence to mourn the victims in the Haiti earthquake, which levelled the UN headquarters building in the capital of Port-au-Prince on Tuesday.
The United Nations flew its blue flag at half-mast on Wednesday at the its headquarters in New York.
"The members of the Security Council also express their deepest gratitude for the work of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) staff and troops, who have dedicated themselves to helping rebuild their concern for their current situation, as well as for that of the staff of other UN and international organizations in Haiti," Zhang said.
"The members of the Security Council highly commend member states' efforts to assist in search and rescue efforts and urge the international community to continue such assistance as the Haitian people face the challenges of rescue, recovery, and reconstruction in the months ahead," he added.
Earlier on Wednesday, Ban told reporters here that hundreds are feared dead in Haiti in the wake of a devastating earthquake,
and the head of the UN mission in Haiti, Hedi Annabi, was among the missing people.
"Information on the full extent of the damage is still scanty," Ban said. "We are facing a major emergency and a major relief effort will be required."
"Basic services, such as water, electricity, have collapsed almost entirely," Ban said. "We have yet to establish a number of dead or injured, which we feel may well be in the hundreds."
Helen Clark, the administrator of the UN Development Program (UNDP), told reporters that there are 38 UNDP staff unaccounted for in Haiti after the strong earthquake struck the Caribbean country on Tuesday.
Alain Le Roy, UN under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations, said here Wednesday that some 10 people have been pulled out, many badly injured and "less than five" are confirmed dead.
"More than 10 people have been extracted from the building, some dead, some alive," Le Roy said.
"The first priority is search and rescue," with teams from the United States, China, France, the Dominican Republic and other nations on their way to Haiti, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes told reporters on Wednesday morning.
The United Nations, he said, will launch a flash appeal to kick start what "will certainly be a major operation and a major relief effort."
MINUSTAH was set up in 2004 and currently has more than 9,000military and police personnel and nearly 2,000 civilian staff. Some 3,000 of the mission's troops and police are in and around Port-au-Prince, and will help to maintain order and assist in relief efforts. They have also started to clear some of the capital's main roads to allow aid and rescuers to reach those in need.
(Xinhua News Agency January 14, 2010)