UNIFEM Executive Director on the Earthquake in Haiti

Date: Friday, January 15, 2010

We are saddened at the loss of lives and destruction caused by the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti Tuesday afternoon near the capital city Port-au-Prince. The full extent of casualties is still unknown at this time, but unfortunately it will likely be high.

UNIFEM expresses its solidarity with the Haitian people in these terrible moments and we send our condolences to those that have lost their love ones.

At this time a significant number of UN personnel, including UNDP colleagues, serving in the country are unaccounted for. The headquarters of the UN peacekeeping force, MINUSTAH, collapsed and many people are still trapped inside. We honour our UN colleagues who lost their lives in the service to the UN ideals.

The international community is responding actively to rescue and support survivors. The road to reconstruction will require a long term commitment to both humanitarian and developmental responses. This terrible humanitarian disaster is likely to impact girls, boys, women and men in different ways. UNIFEM is committed along with its partners and the UN system to working to ensure that attention is given to addressing these differential impacts and in particular for ensuring the personal security of women and girls.

UNIFEM with the Government of Haiti and the UN system will adopt a gender-responsive and human rights based approach |in its efforts and actions to be undertaken in the recovery and reconstruction efforts. The participation of all segments of the Haitian population will be of central importance in the humanitarian response and in the task of rebuilding Haiti better.

UNIFEM will continue its support to the Government of Haiti as well as to civil society organizations, including womens organizations which have a long history of social service delivery, community development and social mobilization.

By UNIFEM Executive Director Inés Alberdi