The Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, paid tribute this Friday to the hundreds of thousands of Haitians and the hundred UN workers who perished in the devastating earthquake that surprised the island on January 12, 2010.
“When the earthquake struck, many Haitians were starting the new year with a feeling of renewed optimism and confidence in the future of their country, but in a few seconds, their hopes turned to dust,” Guterres said in a ceremony held at the UN headquarters in New York.
The UN leader recalled that after the catastrophe “the cities were destroyed, hundreds of thousands of people died and millions of lives changed forever.”
In a speech in French and English, the secretary general also dedicated a few words to the 102 UN humanitarian workers, of thirty different nationalities, who lost their lives in the catastrophe. It was “the biggest loss in the history of the United Nations,” he said.
“I will never forget the shock and sadness around the world and at the United Nations as the escalation of the tragedy became evident,” added Guterres, who also mentioned the consequences of the earthquake on the security, prosperity and stability of Haiti.
He also warned that nowadays insecurity and “slow economic growth” are contributing to increasing social tensions and deteriorating the humanitarian situation.
In this regard, the head of the multinational agency promised that “the UN Integrated Office in Haiti and the 19 agencies, funds and programs present in the country will continue to work in partnership with the Haitian people on their way to recovery and prosperity. “.
In addition, he asked the Haitians to resolve “their differences through dialogue and avoid any escalation that could reverse the achievements made in the last decade.”
Haiti has been experiencing strong socio-political instability since July 2018 due to the weakness of the economy, the accusations of corruption that dot President Jovenel Moise and the growing insecurity.
At the present time, he has been without a government for ten months and since last January 13 he has no Parliament at the conclusion of the legislature without having yet called elections.