Helen Clark: Statement on Haiti to the Executive Board

19 Jan 2010

Before I present my formal statement today, I would like to say a few words about the tragedy in Haiti.

This devastating earthquake has caused immense suffering to the Haitian people, with great loss of life, injury, and damage to homes, livelihoods, the broader economy and society.

Many United Nations personnel and their families have also lost their lives and been injured.

We grieve for all those whose lives have been lost or changed for ever by what has happened, and we grieve with their families, friends, and colleagues.

I visited Haiti with the Secretary-General’s delegation on Sunday, to show solidarity with the people of Haiti, and with the staff of the United Nations.

There is a long journey ahead for Haiti. Right now the pressing task is humanitarian relief, but UNDP is poised to begin early recovery work, particularly in the form of cash for work, which forms part of OCHA’s flash appeal.

We will be with Haiti each step of the way as the full Post Disaster Needs Assessment is done and the plan of action for reconstruction unfolds.

For now, our thoughts are with all those who perished, their loved ones, and their communities. All have been struck by a cruel catastrophe with devastating consequences. We will be a key part of supporting Haiti through this traumatic time and through its recovery.