14.01.2010 18:07

Today, the UN Armenia Office staff led by the newly appointed Resident
Coordinator Mrs. Dafina Gercheva gathered for a solemn ceremony,
with a minute of silence, respecting the memory of the victims of
the devastating earthquake in Haiti on 12 January.

Information on the full extent of the damage remains scant. Initial
reconnaissance and aerial assessments have been undertaken. It is
clear, however that the earthquake had a devastating impact on the
capital Port-au-Prince, and the western part of the country.

The UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon said: "My heart goes out to
the people of Haiti after this devastating earthquake. At this time
of tragedy, I am very concerned for the people of Haiti and also for
the many United Nations staff who serve there. I am receiving initial
reports and following developments closely".

The UN family has immediately mobilized its resources to help the
stricken nation. This is also a tragedy for the UN, and especially
for the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MIHUSTAH).

According to available information the main UN compound in
Port-au-Prince has collapsed as well. Around 100 -150 people were
still working inside the building when the disaster happened. Many
continue to be trapped inside, including UN Secretary General Special
Representative Hedi Annabi and his deputy Luiz Carlos da Costa.

Mrs. Gercheva informed the gathered about the UN casualties there
with a total of 16 UN staff as of recent news confirmed as dead:
three Jordanian police officers, one Argentinean and one Chadian
police officer, and eleven Brazilian peacekeepers.

Peacekeepers and civilian staff from many Member States remain
unaccounted for. Secretary General said that 48 people of UNDP and
UNIFEM, WFP and all other have not been accounted for. "Who but
you, Armenians, understand this tragedy better than many others,
since your wounds from Spitak 1988 earthquake are still fresh...",
Mrs Gercheva said.

The magnitude of this massive earthquake that hit the Caribbean nation
of Haiti on Tuesday, January 12, at 4:53 pm at the epicenter had a
7.0-magnitude with a depth of 13 km.