Around 200 UN personnel missing in the Haiti earthquake

January 15th, 2010 - 12:37 am ICT by Aishwarya Bhatt  

Haiti Earthquake pictures Port-Au-Prince, Jan 14 (THAINDIAN NEWS) Around 200 UN personnel were reported missing in the 7.0-magnitude Haitian earthquake which happened around 4.53 p.m. local time on Tuesday. It was the strongest earthquake ever recorded within 200 kilometers. It struck about 10 miles southwest of the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince. The earthquake had a depth of only 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), so there is a greater chance of severe damage.

“Between 50 to 100 MINUSTAH (peacekeeping) staff are believed trapped in the building. In total, between 115 and 200 are unaccounted for, but it is an estimate from last night,” Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told Reuters

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said late Wednesday that at least 16 U.N. personnel with the peacekeeping mission in Haiti had died in the powerful earthquake. Mr. Ban has requested help from all quarters for the rehabilitation of the Haiti earthquake victims and he also said that the U.N. would be at the forefront of the coordination effort.

Among the missing UN personnel is also the mission’s chief, veteran diplomat Hedi Annabi. There have been some unconfirmed reports that he died, but Mr. Ban said the U.N. is still working to confirm his status. To the Haitian people, Mr. Ban had this message: “To the people of Haiti I say this: We are with you. We are working quickly, as fast as humanly possible.”

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