Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

UN: Haiti faces period of ‘high risk’ in next 12-18 months

Earth Times

New York – Haiti is in a period of “high risk” following January’s destructive earthquake because of the numerous tasks it will have to carry out simultaneously with the assistance of the international community, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in an updated report on Tuesday.

Ban listed political, security, protection and recovery objectives as high priorities for the Haitian government in the next 12 to 18 months.

“The role of the United Nations and its members in this period should be to support Haiti’s government and institutions in delivering on their responsibilities, while respecting their authorities and prerogatives,” Ban said in a report to the UN Security Council.

He asked the 15-nation council to maintain the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) of 8,306 military troops and 2,177 police. The mission will have a new set of tasks, focusing on fostering political stability and supporting the government as it struggles to pursue its own programmes.

He said a UN “surge of efforts” is needed in the next two years to help Haiti preserve gains in stabilization programmes carried out before the earthquake devastated the country on January 12.

Haiti is scheduled to hold presidential, legislative and municipal elections later this year for a smooth handover of power in early 2011. But electoral preparations are to take place under trying conditions created by the magnitude-7 earthquake. The country’s electoral institutions will have to be reconstituted while voting centres will have to be rebuilt. Voter registration will also have to be updated, the report said.

The report said Haiti has put the death toll of the January 12 quake at 222,570 people killed and 1.5 million homeless. The UN and international partners launched in March a displacement tracking mechanism that identified 460 settlement centres housing 1.17 million Haitians.

The UN suffered a total of 101 dead among staffers working the impoverished country at the time of the quake, including the top leaders of MINUSTAH who were killed in the collapse of the Hotel Christopher, which housed their headquarters.

At a UN conference held on March 31 in New York, donors pledged 9 billion dollars for the long-term reconstruction of Haiti, of which 5 billion dollars were pledged for the 2010-11 period.

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