Page last updated at 04:31 GMT, Friday, 29 January 2010

Haiti memorial for UN quake victims


Dozens of UN employees remain unaccounted for

The United Nations has held a memorial service in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, to remember dozens of its workers killed in the earthquake.

People hugged each other as the list of 85 confirmed UN fatalities, including mission head Hedi Annabi, was read out.

Former UN mission chief Edmond Mulet told UN staff that their continuing work for Haiti was the best memorial to colleagues who died.

As many as 200,000 people died in the 12 January earthquake.

An estimated 1.5 million people have also been left homeless.

'Eloquent memorial'

Several hundred UN employees, local staff, peacekeepers and representatives of the diplomatic community and Haitian government on Thursday attended the memorial service within the UN compound in the Haitian capital.

Broadcasting on FM radio daily in Haitian Creole at 0910 local time (1410 GMT), for 20 minutes
Giving up-to-date information about where to get basic services and aid
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Eighty-five UN employees died in the 12 January earthquake, but dozens more remain unaccounted for.

At the memorial, a visibly emotional Mr Mulet read a message from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

"To you I say: we are with you in spirit. To those no longer with us I say: we will never forget you."

Mr Mulet told UN workers that "your efforts are the most sincere and eloquent memorial to those who gave their lives for this mission".

Mr Mulet was Hedi Annabi's predecessor and is now the acting head of mission.

He later said the reconstruction effort would take several decades.

He described the logistics of the relief work as a nightmare, with the two ports in the capital destroyed by the earthquake and long delays in the arrival of aid from neighbouring Dominican Republic due to a lack of UN vehicles.

Mr Mulet told the BBC reconstruction was not starting at zero but below zero.

Haitian President Rene Preval earlier this week called for the urgent airlift of 200,000 more tents and 26 million ready-to-eat meals before the rainy season begins in May.

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