Police search for fugitives from prisons in quake-hit Haiti

January 19th, 2010 - 3:02 pm ICT by IANS  

United Nations, Jan 19 (RIA Novosti) UN and Haitian police are searching for convicts who escaped from destroyed prisons following a devastating quake that hit the Caribbean nation last week, the UN chief of peacekeeping operations said.
A 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti last Tuesday destroying as many as 50 percent of the buildings, including prisons, in the country’s capital. Some of the prisoners have been reported dead, but many are feared to have escaped.

UN peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy, under secretary general for peacekeeping operations at the UN, said Monday that UN and Haitian police units had been coordinating their efforts to find and arrest the fugitives.

Tens of thousands of people are feared dead, twice as many could be injured, and more than three million are estimated to have been left without shelter as international rescue efforts on the island are ongoing.

According to official reports, local police have suffered heavy losses in the quake and could not cope with the criminal situation in the country on its own.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has already asked the Security Council to increase the UN peacekeeping contingent in quake-stricken Haiti by 1,500 policemen and 2,000 troops.

The proposal to increase the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), which currently enlists over 9,000 policemen and troops, comes among mounting reports of looting of stores and other buildings as well as other acts of crime mainly in the devastated Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.

A resolution on beefing up the contingent by 60 percent policemen and by 30 percent troops could be passed by the Security Council later Tuesday.

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