UN chief Ban Ki-Moon calls for Haiti aid patience

BBC News 18.01.2010 14:20
UN chief Ban Ki-Moon calls for Haiti aid patience - UN - Caribbean - Haiti - Ban Ki-moon - society


UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has appealed to frustrated Haitians to be patient over efforts to bring them relief from last Tuesday's earthquake.



Food and water are finally reaching some parts of the capital Port-au-Prince, but relief efforts are being slowed by bottlenecks.

Large numbers of earthquake survivors are having to fend for themselves.

Many are trying to leave the city, and there are security concerns amid reports of looting and violence.

Haitian President Rene Preval said 3,500 US troops would help UN and Haitian forces restore order in Port-au-Prince.

"We have 2,000 police in Port-au-Prince who are severely affected [by the quake]. And 3,000 bandits escaped from prison," he said. "This gives you an idea of how bad the situation is."

Several looters were reported to have been lynched or shot dead.

Estimates of the numbers killed by the earthquake range from 50,000 to at least 200,000.

Speaking in Port-au-Prince, Mr Ban called the situation in Haiti "one of the worst humanitarian crises in decades".

(...) Later Mr Ban said he understood people's frustration, but that he did not want to see violence among desperate survivors.

"I appeal to the Haitian people to be more patient," Mr Ban said.

He said providing daily food to two million people, as the UN has pledged, would be a "huge challenge".

"We need to make sure our help is getting to people who need it as fast as possible," he added.

The UN has launched an appeal for $562m (£346m) intended to help three million people for six months, most of whom are thought to need emergency relief.


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