Four tropical storms – Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike – battered Haiti between mid-August and mid-September, leaving a trail of devastation in their wake.During his two-day trip starting on Thursday, Mr. Holmes, who also serves as Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, will hold talks with Haitian leaders and representatives of UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).The UN launched an appeal in September for nearly $108 million to provide humanitarian and early recovery help for the next six months to survivors of the storms.On his visit, Mr. Holmes will also stop at Gonaïves, the town hardest-hit by the recent storms.In a related development, all 140 members of an Indian Formed Police Unit (FPU) – comprising police officers who have received specialized training in high-risk operations and managing crowds – have all arrived to serve with the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti, known as MINUSTAH.The latest addition brings the total of UN Police (UNPOL) serving with the mission to over 1,100.FPUs can be deployed to respond to riots, carry out patrols and take part in anti-kidnapping operations. They can also provide much-needed humanitarian assistance, as was the case early last month in Haiti.In Gonaïves, a Pakistani FPU – working 36 straight hours instead of their usual 8-hour shift – saved the lives of hundreds of prisoners whose cells were in danger of being inundated by floodwater.With many relief organizations unable to reach the town in Haiti’s north, the officers shared their own food and supplies with those in need. They also waded through waist-deep water to evacuate senior citizens and children, carrying them on their shoulders. Once the waters had receded, the Pakistani FPU transported some 4,000 people to safety in a span of three days. 21 October 2008United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes will visit Haiti later this week to assess the response to a series of storms which ravaged the impoverished Caribbean nation recently, it was announced today.
In his message, delivered in observance of the first annual International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, the Secretary-General voiced concern about the delayed status of ongoing negotiations to eliminate the atomic threat still present around the world.“The lack of such negotiations is disrupting the delicate balance between international commitments to disarmament and non-proliferation,” affirmed Mr. Ban. “The time has come for those negotiations to begin.”The International Day was established by the UN General Assembly in 2013 in a resolution calling for the “urgent commencement of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament of a comprehensive convention on nuclear weapons to prohibit their possession, development, production, acquisition, testing, stockpiling, transfer and use or threat of use, and to provide for their destruction.” Following the creation of the International Day against Nuclear Tests in 2010, the measure was the latest effort by the UN body to raise public awareness and work for deeper engagement on nuclear disarmament issues. In his remarks, Mr. Ban noted that six years ago he had put forward a five-point proposal on nuclear disarmament indicating two possible paths for progress: “agreement on a framework of separate, mutually reinforcing instruments, or through a nuclear-weapons convention, backed by a strong system of verification.”“What matters most is not which path is taken,” Mr. Ban continued, “but that the chosen path is heading in the right direction – toward the internationally agreed goal of the total elimination of nuclear weapons.”He cautioned that on the newly established International Day the world would need to do more than simply voice calls for limiting nuclear weapons, reducing their range, constraining their deployments or reducing their role in security policies.“It is a day on which to imagine the consequences should the dangerous and fragile doctrine of nuclear deterrence fail,” the Secretary-General concluded. “Let us revive nuclear disarmament as a top international priority, in the interest of the peace and security of all and of future generations.” read more