Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for an additional 3,500 United Nations troops and police officers to be deployed to Haiti, which was devastated last week by a catastrophic earthquake, to ensure that aid reaches the victims of the disaster as quickly as possible.
Mr. Ban, who yesterday visited the capital, Port-au-Prince, asked the Security Council today for an extra 1,500 police officers and 2,000 troops to reinforce the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti, known as MINUSTAH, to augment its 9,000 uniformed personnel already on the ground.
The heartbreaking " scenes he witnessed yesterday compel us to act swiftly and generously, " he told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York.
The Haitian people need to see that today is better than yesterday. "
Following his day-long visit to Haiti, already the Western Hemisphere`s poorest nation before the disaster, the Secretary-General identified two main challenges.
First, he said, any bottlenecks in the aid operation must be resolved to ensure that the relief reaches people in need as quickly as possible.
The second and most important " challenge is coordination of that effort, Mr. Ban noted.
MINUSTAH and others taking part in the operation have agreed on a clear division of responsibilities regarding the provision of security and humanitarian support, he said.
Surmounting these obstacles will require increasing the number of the mission`s personnel, the Secretary-General told the Council today.
The earthquake, one of the most serious natural disasters in decades, also represents the single biggest loss to the UN.
UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky announced today that 46 international personnel serving with the world body in Haiti have been confirmed dead.
They include Mr. Ban`s Special Representative to Haiti, HÃ©di Annabi, as well as his Deputy Luiz Carlos da Costa and Acting Police Commissioner Doug Coates of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.