Dodges on Search and Safety, 278 National Staff Unaccounted For,
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, January 19 -- As UN officials in Haiti lash out at the media
for reporting on looting, they are unable or unwilling to answer
Press questions about the safety of their building, rescue efforts
made or a helicopter
"crash" that they themselves reported.
Alain Leroy on Tuesday morning told Inner City Press he had heard the
same reports of a helicopter crash in Haiti, but to ask
Edmond Mulet, who was appear at noon by video link for Haiti.
did, Mulet said "I've heard about this crash" but that "the
UN and MINUSTAH have nothing to do with it." But the UN says it
is playing the central coordinating role.
asked for an update on MINUSTAH's inquiry into the safety of its 1200
national Haitian staff, on whom at first it did not report. Mulet
responded that 278 are still unaccounted for, adding that perhaps
some are "dealing with their own grievances." Video here,
from Minute 21:26.
grieving, Inner City Press asked what had been done to try to find
and save staffer Alexandra Duguay, an energetic Canadian who until
recently worked at UN headquarters, as well as running marathons.
Sunday's whirlwind tour of Port au Prince by Secretary General
Ban Ki-moon and some hand selected media, complaints were made that
not enough was done to find Ms. Duguay.
National Post quoted her parents that she had been found, dead.
Still, MINUSTAH spokesman David Wimhurst replied that he had no
information, "I don't have" ID's, while mentioning another
building that collapsed with ten people inside. Video here,
Inner City Press directed to Mr. Wimhurst a question about the
helicopter crash on which UN sources were reporting, without any
further information being given.
communications strategy appears to be to attack media which reports
on looting or rioting in Haiti.
Ruins of UN's rented Hotel Christopher, with copter in background
Mr. Mulet calls such reports
"irresponsible" -- he also called looting "normal"
-- while Mr. Wimhurst, pointing out that he attended Columbia School
of Journalism and was "well trained," chided media for
"looking for conflict," for trying to blame the UN for
Mr. Wimhurst, and others in the UN, thought of the media's coverage
of Hurricane Katrina and responses in New Orleans. It is known that
the Secretariat and Spokesman have reacted angrily to this
wasn't aware if the UN's headquarters in the Christopher
which it paid out $94,000 a month, had been brought into MOSS
compliance. Mulet said all the records were destroyed. It seems
strange that records on a contract and lease of this size were stored
in the building itself. Mulet said this would be followed up on. We
will be following up.
* * *
UN on Haiti, Ban Dodges on Immigration, Armenians Rebuffed, No Copter
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, January 19 -- As the UN
Security Council voted to authorize
3500 more peacekeepers for Haiti, including 1500 more police,
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on member states to step forward
with offers of troops.
Inner City Press asked about the Dominican
Republic's offer of a battalion, said to number 800, and whether Ban
and the UN think that countries should be less stringent with their
immigration restrictions after the Haitian earthquake.
Ban replied by
praising the Dominican Republic for its troop offer -- which some see
as simply blue helmeting a border guarding force -- and for its help
with the humanitarian effort. He is aware, he said, of the Dominican
Republic's attempt to accommodate Haitians within the Republic's
"rules and regulations."
asked Ban about reports that the UN had run out of fuel for its
trucks to deliver aid. Top humanitarian John Holmes passed a note to
Ban Ki-moon, who read out that last night 10,000 gallons of fuels had
took to the custom made podium brought out for Ban Ki-moon, Inner
City Press asked him about a reported complaint
by Armenia's Mission
to the UN, that they had offered a rescue team last Thursday but were
never told of any UN acceptance or decision.
replied that he
was unaware, but that there are always issues of matching needs with
offers. But from member states?
exclusively Monday evening about what UN sources said
was a helicopter crash in Haiti, asked chief Peacekeeper Alain
for an update. I've seen those reports, he said, but I have no new
information this morning. He said to ask Edmond Mulet, who will be
appearing later on Tuesday by video link from Haiti.
UN's Ban and former spokeswoman, answers on
immigration not shown
China Zhang Yesui, this month's
Security Council president, came out at announced
the Council's vote. While usually he leaves the stakeout without
taking any questions -- on Monday he walked away as Inner City Press
asked about the attacks in Afghanistan -- this time he called on
Xinhua, and offered a long answer on camera, in Chinese. It concerned
the UN's role in responding to Haiti.
would offer any more troops -- its 125 member contingent is, as Inner
City Press has reported, a "riot squad" that when rotated
has flown back to Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region -- Zhang
Yesui said it
would be taken under advisement.
last speaker at
the stakeout was U.S. Deputy Ambassador Alejandro Wolff, who came
prepared with an answer to Inner City Press' question
whether the $100 million of aid announced by President Barack Obama
would be part of the UN's flash appeal.
Ambassador Wolff said,
the $100 million is "bilateral." But he said that the US
will be contributing generously to the UN's flash appeal, in the
coming days. We'll see.
because the UN and even Security Council has become all Haiti, all
the time for now, Inner City Press asked the U.S.'s Alejandro Wolff
about reports of bombing in Darfur, requests to protect civilians,
and Chad's statement it does not want the mandate of the Darfur
related MINURCAT peacekeeping mission renewed. Wolff said the U.S.
is concerned and is seeking more information. Inner City Press has
asked the UN too, and hopes to be able to write more on this topic
the UN's January 19 transcript:
City Press: Mr. Secretary-General, the Dominican Republic has offered
a battalion – it has been said publicly – they’ve also said
that they are very concerned about immigration and people crossing
the border. Does the UN have anything to say whether countries
should loosen their immigration restrictions on Haitians, or
otherwise, after this crisis? And also, does the UN still have gas to
run its trucks? There was a report in USA Today that the UN was
running out of gas for its food distribution trucks.
Ki-moon: From the beginning of this crisis, the Dominican Republic
Government has been providing very generously and swiftly all
possible assistance to their neighbouring country, Haiti, and we are
very much grateful to them. I am also aware of the Dominican
Republic’s intention to dispatch troops there - that is also
welcome. For the immigration issues, I am also aware that the
Dominican Republic Government is trying to accommodate as many as
possible, those people within the existing rules and regulations of
their country, but they have been very generous. Of course, this
fuel is quite limited in Haiti. Ten thousand gallons of fuel, I
think, arrived last night from the Dominican Republic. That will
help more, as we continue our operations.