UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, today ordered $10 million to be released from the Central Emergency Response Fund to kick-start humanitarian relief efforts in Haiti following the earthquake which struck on Tuesday measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale.
The UN is rushing its experts and supplies to Haiti, as well as pre-positioning an airplane, to be operational by Friday, to shuttle UN and humanitarian agency staff between Miami and Port-au-Prince.
The Secretary-General has dispatched Edmond Mulet, his former Special Representative to Haiti and current Assistant-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, to Haiti to assume full command of the UN mission. He is due to leave on Friday, or else as soon as possible.
Some 3,000 of MINUSTAH’s troops and police are in and around Port-au-Prince, and are helping 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.
The number of casualties wrought by the earthquake is unknown, and it was announced last night that 16 peacekeepers serving with the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) have died, with some 150 staff members – including Hédi Annabi, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative – still unaccounted for. Mr Annabi was having a meeting with a Chinese delegation when the earthquake struck.
Meanwhile, the UN Special Envoy for Haiti, former US President Bill Clinton, has had talks with Mr Ban. and both are committed to visiting Haiti as soon as is practical but are focussing on co-ordinating relief efforts for the mean time.
Gen. Toro from Chile arranged an air reconaissance on Thursday morning which found that the National Palace, the National Assembly building, the Montana Hotel, and the UN headquarters in the Christopher Hotel have all collapsed.
The UN confirmed with the Chief of Security in Haiti that President Preval is alive. The Port-au-Prince airport is functioning even though the air control tower has collapsed. The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) logistics base is also intact and operating. The US military is aiming to send help from the base at Guantanamo, which is right across the strait from Port au Prince.