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Ban says Haiti worst disaster in decades

Ban says Haiti worst disaster in decades
AFP
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First Published: Mon, Jan 18 2010. 10 55 AM IST
Updated: Mon, Jan 18 2010. 10 55 AM IST
Port-Au-Prince: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today that Haiti was the worst humanitarian crisis in decades as he surveyed the devastated quake-hit capital for himself.
After an emotional reunion in Port-au-Prince with Michele Montas, a Haitian who until late last year was his spokeswoman, Ban was to meet President Rene Preval and receive a helicopter tour of the disaster zone.
“I am going to Haiti with a very heavy heart to express solidarity and full support of the UN to the people of Haiti,” Ban told journalists accompanying him on the day-long trip.
Tuesday’s 7.0-magnitude quake has killed tens of thousands of Haitians and was also the worst ever disaster to befall the UN with 40 staffers confirmed dead and nearly 330 others still unaccounted for.
“We have to prepare for the worst,” Ban said as he flew out of Newark, referring to UN employees still missing after the disaster that flattened much of Port-au-Prince and nearby towns in western Haiti.
Ban said the three top priorities were: to save as many people as possible, to bring emergency humanitarian aid in the form of water, food and medication, and to coordinate the massive aid effort.
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First Published: Mon, Jan 18 2010. 10 55 AM IST