|PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti — United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday called on the international community to increase its aid to Haiti on the fourth anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck the impoverished country, noting progress already made in health and education, but warning that more needs to be done.
“Haiti remains extremely vulnerable on many fronts,” he said in a message delivered to UN staff in Port au Prince, the capital, by his Special Representative Sandra Honoré. “145,000 people continue to live in make-shift camps. The country is structurally exposed to recurrent food crises. Haiti has the lowest level of water and sanitation coverage in the Americas.”
“I continue to call on the international community to stand with Haiti at its time of dire need. We must intensify our efforts to help Haiti build a more stable and prosperous future for the all its people. Let us renew today our pledge to follow our fallen colleagues’ dream of a life of dignity for all the people of Haiti.”
The massive quake, which struck Haiti on 12 January, 2010, killed some 220,000 people, including 102 UN staff, made 1.5 million others homeless, and caused widespread destruction and a major humanitarian crisis.
“Your commitment, combined with the resilience of the Haitian people, has made much progress possible,” Ban told UN staff. “Health systems are being strengthened, more children are in school, close to 90 per cent of the displaced population have left the camps and economic activities have resumed allowing Haiti to start moving from crisis to long-term development.”
Referring to his own visit to the country shortly after disaster struck, he said the personal stories of heroism, courage and dedication that he saw and heard “moved me deeply and showed the United Nations at its best.
“I pay tribute to all UN colleagues who have strived through the years to keep alive the memory of our fallen colleagues and friends and serve the people of Haiti,” he added. “This includes those who remained after the earthquake to deliver life-saving support and consolation to the other victims. It also includes those who arrived later to carry on the worthy cause of helping Haiti rebuild its future.”