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BigLogo.gif UN Member States on the Record

MINUSTAH honors the memory of Haiti earthquake victims

Published: Monday 14 January, 2013, Port-au-Prince | Author: MINUSTAH

The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) paid tribute to the 102 staff member who died during the earthquake of 12 January 2010 and reiterated its commitment to rebuilding the country with the help of Haitian authorities.

"No word is powerful enough to express our resoluteness to continue the work that they believed in," declared Ban Ki-moon in a message delivered by the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, during a simple memorial in the presence of the families and friends of the victims, at the MINUSTAH headquarters in Port-au-Prince. "They worked here, in Haiti, a country where needs are great, to help build a better life, a safer life, for millions of people," said Mr. Ban.

"Today, our main priority must be to help Haiti to once more become a place that inspires hope, where the Rule of Law prevails, where democratic institutions endure, where human rights are respected, where its people have access to education and sanitation," added the Head of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations who spent four days visiting the country.

Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti, Mariano Fernández Amunátegui, reiterated the UN’s commitment towards the Haitian authorities. The Head of the MINUSTAH assured during the ceremony that his team was "resolutely committed to rebuilding infrastructure and kick start the economy".

On the eve of the devastating earthquake’s third anniversary, MINUSTAH’s staff and the families and friends of victims laid a hundred white roses on the earthquake’s memorial located in MINUSTAH’s confines. The UN flag was at half mast as a Brazilian Blue Helmet sounded the bugle for the dead.

According to Thales Mardochee, Haitian staff member working with MINUSTAH, this tragedy that cost more than 200,000 lives and deprived nearly 1.5 million people from proper housing, "made us understand that we need to do better, to build stronger, in the future".

The next day, January 12, families and staff met to the sound of religious songs by Port-au-Prince’s churches at the site of the Christopher Hotel, which was MINUSTAH’s headquarters during the earthquake.

Visibly moved, Mr. Ladsous, who said he had "personal friends of 20 years among the victims", shared his sadness but also his "conviction that we owe to our fallen friends to continue the mission and to bring it to terms", indicated the Head of the Blue Helmet after laying a wreath of white roses in front of the slope of the site that was completely destroyed by the earthquake.

Gregory Grene, who came from the United States with his mother and sister-in-law to attend the event, said he hoped to see a memorial monument in order "never to forget". His twin brother Andrew, who worked as special assistant to the Head of MINUSTAH, Hedi Annabi, died in the collapse of the six-stories building, to the Special Represetative’s side. "This site is sacred to me... This is where people gave their all in the pursuit of United Nations ideals", he explained. Gregory is about to return to Haiti in March to teach English in a school he founded in Cité Soleil, in this populous district of the capital, in memory of his twin brother.