Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 17 January 2010





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Ban Ki-moon to visit Haiti

UN chief Ban Ki-moon was to visit devastated Haiti Sunday as the world body on Friday appealed for 562 million dollars from donors to assist victims of the earthquake thought to have killed more than 50,000 people.Ban was to make a lightning one-day visit to the battered Haitian capital Port-au-Prince to show solidarity with the Haitian people and local UN staff.

More than 50,000 people were killed and 250,000 injured by Tuesday's 7.0 quake, which also left nearly 1.5 million homeless, Haitian Public Health Minister Alex Larsen said.According to UN officials, an estimated 300,000 people have been left homeless, with one in 10 homes in the capital destroyed.The UN mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) has also been hit hard by the quake, with 37 of its 12,000 employees confirmed dead and 330 unaccounted for.Among those listed as still missing are MINUSTAH's civilian head Hedi Annabi of Tunisia and his Brazilian deputy Luiz Carlos da Costa.

Haitian President Rene Preval said Wednesday that Annabi was killed but the UN said it could not confirm this.Ban's trip was announced shortly after UN humanitarian chief John Holmes formally launched a flash appeal for 562 million dollars in emergency funds for a period of six months during a meeting with member states.

Holmes said the appeal was based on the assumption that "three million people are badly affected enough to need immediate aid and to need aid for a period of six months."Holmes, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said the biggest chunk of the request 246 million dollars would go for food aid. -AFP


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