UN chief urges nations to consider deploying forces to help Haiti after earthquake Published duration 8 January 2014
An UN humanitarian chief has urged nations to consider deploying some troops to Haiti as a “last resort” after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake claimed more than 300 lives.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other heads of state will meet in New York on Thursday with ministers to discuss the response to the disaster, which has left some 3,000 people dead and 15,000 injured.
In Washington, the US President, Barack Obama, is due to meet with his counterparts and the US Congress.
The Haitian president is flying to New York, and the president of the US Congress is also expected in the US capital on Thursday for meetings with his cabinet colleagues.
The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is made up of 18 Republican and independent senators, is also due to hold an emergency meeting.
In advance of his US trip, the UN chief told reporters he would meet on Thursday with world leaders in New York on how to respond.
Mr Ban urged nations with troops on the ground, which have yet to be deployed, to do so immediately.
“We have the international responsibility to take action to help in any way we can, and I strongly believe that the last resort is to have troops on the ground,” he said in a briefing before he was to fly to New York. “The international community has a responsibility for all the people affected… and I urge every country to take action.”
The president of the UN General Assembly, Joseph Aoun, said he was “appalled” by the death toll from the quake, but added: “That is why we should support the recovery of the country and its people.”
“We cannot help Haiti in a manner that will affect security in the region,” he told France-24 television.
The UN secretary-general’s office said he “remains confident” an increase in the UN presence in Haiti was possible and stressed that “this is a vital humanitarian priority, and a matter of great importance for the international community.”
The US has deployed aircraft and marines to help a key port open up to humanitarian access, as the death toll from the 8.0-magnitude