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Haiti quake worst disaster ever confronted by UN: spokeswoman

The earthquake in Haiti is the worst disaster ever confronted by the United Nations, a spokeswoman said on Saturday, pointing out that the catastrophe has left affected regions with little infrastructure.

world Updated: Jan 16, 2010 20:29 IST

The earthquake in Haiti is the worst disaster ever confronted by the United Nations, a spokeswoman said on Saturday, pointing out that the catastrophe has left affected regions with little infrastructure.

"This is a historic disaster. We have never been confronted with such a disaster in the UN memory. It is like no other," Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

She noted that at least local government structures remained after the 2004 tsunami hit Indonesia's Aceh province, but in Haiti, the town of Leogane, for example, had lost all its public services in the earthquake.

The earthquake "has decapitated the city," said Byrs, pointing out that this made coordination of aid efforts all the more difficult.

Byrs had earlier said that a UN assessment team surveying towns to the west of Port-au-Prince found that up to 90 per cent of the buildings in Leogane had been damaged or destroyed by Tuesday's 7.0 magnitude quake.

"No local government infrastructure remains," she said.

"According to the local police, between 5,000 to 10,000 people have been killed and most bodies are still in the collapsed buildings," she said.