UN considers moving 5,000 troops to Port-au-Prince

The United Nations is considering redeploying some 5,000 peacekeepers, soldiers and police officers from across Haiti to the capital Port-au-Prince, a UN official in Mexico said Friday.

A photo provided by ECHO, shows an aerial view of houses flattened following a major earthquake that hit Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on January 12.

The United Nations is thinking about ordering "5,000 personnel who are not in Port-au-Prince" to move to the capital "and reinforce their colleagues," said United Nations system coordinator Magdy Martinez during a press conference in Mexico City.

UN peacekeepers, often known as blue berets, are currently deployed throughout earthquake-stricken Haiti, but "the capital is the main source of concern over the issue of public order," Martinez said.

He added that development assistance the United Nations had planned to send to Haiti could be "converted for the most part for use in accelerated reconstruction."

The aid will go towards schools, hospitals, communication systems and telecommunication infrastructure, Martinez added.

The United Nations has some 12,000 personnel in Haiti, including blue berets and civilian representatives, he said.

The international organization suffered unprecedented losses in Tuesday's 7.0 earthquake, which brought down the headquarters of its Haiti peacekeeping force MINUSTAH.

At least 37 UN staffers were killed in the disaster, and some 330 remain unaccounted for, a spokesman at UN headquarters in New York City said Friday.

Source: AFP

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