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Haiti's most urgent need is shelter: UN chief

world Updated: Mar 15, 2010 12:50 IST
Haiti's most urgent need is shelter: UN chief

On his second visit to Haiti after a devastating earthquake had killed more than 200,000 people and left 1.3 million homeless, UN Chief Ban Ki-moon has said that the need of hour for the quake-torn nation was shelter.

"The most urgent challenge right now is shelter, shelter, shelter — coupled with sanitation," Ban said.

"At this moment, we have supplied tents and tarpaulins to approximately 60 per cent of the 1.3 million people in need. We aim to reach everyone by the end of April."

Ban announced that a UN donors conference will be held in New York on March 31 to fund Haiti's reconstruction.

He said only 49 per cent has been raised so far out of the USD 1.4 billion needed to help hundreds of thousands of victims of the January 12 disaster.

"Haiti needs funds for schools, infrastructure, roads, ports and power. For the foreseeable future, the government will need international assistance simply to cover its payroll — teachers, police, doctors and nurses, civil servants and basic services," Ban said.

Ban made his first trip to Haiti on January 17 and returned with the bodies of the UN mission chief in Haiti, Hedi Annabi and his deputy Luiz Carlos da Costa. A total of 101 UN personnel lost their lives during the disaster.

"Finally, I would like to say how proud I am of the UN mission. Despite terrible losses, they have carried on," he said.