16 Oct,PORT-AU-PRINCE — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Haiti on Saturday to tour the regions devastated by Hurricane Matthew in early October.
After arriving at the airport of Port-au-Prince, the capital, Ban boarded a helicopter to fly to the southern city of Les Cayes, which took the full force of Matthew after it made landfall on Oct. 4.
Media summaries of various casualty reports have put the death toll at over 1,000, with around 175,000 people made homeless.The UN chief was accompanied by Haitian Prime Minister Enex Jean-Charles. Upon arrival, Ban spoke with some of the refugees, sheltering in a local high school.
“I was very, very sad when we saw such total devastation. But all the people of the world are with you,” he was quoted as saying by French newspaper La Croix. “The United Nations are by your side. We will mobilize all resources to help you.”Just before Ban’s arrival, a scuffle broke out between angry locals and UN peacekeepers at a base in Les Cayes, with around 100 people throwing rocks at food trucks.
Haiti is also facing a worsening cholera outbreak which has ravaged the country in recent years. A number of studies have linked the outbreak to a group of UN peacekeepers from Nepal, a responsibility the UN acknowledged in August.
In a press conference with Haiti’s provisional President Jocelerme Privert, prior to leaving the country, Ban expressed his deep sorrow at what he had seen.”I am here to offer my solidarity and to tell the Haitian people that the world is on your side at this difficult time.
The international community will always be here to help in the reconstruction of the areas devastated by the hurricane,” he said, according to Spanish news agency EFE.
Addressing the attack on the food trucks, Ban said that “the most vulnerable suffer the most” when these actions occur.Finally, he announced that the UN had called for 119 million U.S. dollars in urgent donations and would open a fund to help victims of cholera.(Xinhua)