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Ban visits Haiti, pledges full UN support

world Updated: Jan 18, 2010 11:16 IST
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UN chief Ban-Ki moon vowed to stand behind the Haitian people as he visited the quake-devastated country and termed the catastrophe a "tsunami-like disaster".

Touring the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince yesterday, UN Secretary-General Ban assured the disaster-hit people that

"help is already arriving".

"For a small country like Haiti, this is a tsunami-like disaster. This is a major catastrophe and a huge humanitarian

crisis, whose full dimensions we may not even know yet, particularly outside the capital," Ban said.

He vowed that the United Nations would "stand behind the Haitian people". "We are with you. You are not alone. Help is already arriving," he said.

Ban met Haitian President Rene Preval and also visited the headquarters of the UN peacekeeping force in Haiti which

collapsed when the earthquake struck last week.

While 40 UN staffers, including its mission chief Tunisian national Hedi Annabi and his Brazilian deputy Luiz Carlos da Costa were confirmed dead, nearly 330 others were still unaccounted for.

"I will carry this in memory of our colleagues who have given their lives for the cause of peace," Ban said, after

receiving a UN flag.