Tuesday, March 16, 2010

VIDEO: U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on 2nd visit to Haiti // MaximsNewsNetwork


(UNTV) Port-au-Prince, Haiti - Two months after it was struck by a catastrophic earthquake, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today (14 March) that Haiti is beginning to transition from emergency relief to early recovery and reconstruction" as he visited the country for the second time since the disaster.

Ban met with President René Préval and Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive and offered a press conference where he told journalists in Port-au-Prince that the situation in Haiti remains extremely difficult.

Estimates vary but as many as 230,000 Haitians may have been killed in the quake that struck on 12 January and much of Port-au-Prince and nearby towns was leveled. Around 1.3 million people remain homeless.

The Secretary-General noted that great progress has been made in providing emergency supplies of food and water, while the UN cash-for-work scheme has employed 85,000 people so far to clear debrief and distribute aid.

He highlighted that both the UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSTAH) and the Haitian National Police (HNP) have done a great job maintaining security and added that every effort will be made to insure that internally displaced persons (IDP) camps remain safe and secure, most especially for women and children.

He warned that shelter remains the biggest and most urgent priority as we rainy season approaches, followed by the scheduled start of hurricane season in June.

At the press conference, President Préval expressed concern about imported food items competing with local food production, and proposed that food items should be bought locally in order for Haitian farmers to be able to sell theirs products in their local markets.

Ban toured a camp that is home to tens of thousands of IDPs on a one-day visit to the Caribbean country ahead of the international donors' conference for Haiti that will be held at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 31 March.

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