Local staff the best face of the UN's partnership with the Haitian people: Ban

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Roses are laid on a memorial inscribed with names of UN staff who lost their lives in Haiti's devastating 2010 earthquake, during a ceremony by the UN mission in Haiti to mark the second anniversary

Thursday 12 January marked the second anniversary of the powerful 7.0 earthquake that devastated Haiti, killing more than 200,000 people including more than a hundred UN staff.

In a message marking the occasion, the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recalled that two years ago today, Haiti confronted a national disaster that shook the country … and our own Organization … to the core.

He said that along with the people of Haiti themselves, the United Nations lost colleagues, friends and family. And with them, we have struggled to overcome tragedy and rebuild.

According to the Secretary-General, there is no better way to honour the memory of those who sacrificed so much than by carrying on their work. He noted that so many of our international staff stayed on during these difficult two years. And the extraordinary local staff has been the best face of the UN's partnership with the Haitian people throughout these testing times.

Secretary-General Ban noted that despite the most challenging circumstances, they have persevered, and made an enormous difference in the life of Haiti and its people.

The Secretary-General said thanks to their help, more people have left the camps and rebuilt their homes. Rubble has been cleared. Children are in school. More people are getting healthcare and clean water.

But he cautioned that the challenges remain large. Hundreds of thousands still lack adequate shelter. A new government is still trying to find its footing. The cholera epidemic still threatens people's lives.

He concluded that as we enter the New Year, the people of Haiti continue to look to the United Nations for help and hope, adding " I know that you will deliver because you have done so with such courage and commitment for so long".

This is Donn Bobb reporting.

Duration: 1’35″

Filed under Caribbean News.
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