For Immediate Release Contact: Aaron Sherinian (202) 778-1622
United Nations Foundation Founder and Chairman Ted Turner Statement on the Earthquake and Relief Efforts in Haiti
Commits $1 million and Appeals for Support of UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)
Washington, DC (January 13, 2009) – Ted Turner today issued the following statement in response to the January 12 earthquake in Haiti:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti last night. We offer condolences to the families of those Haitians, UN peacekeepers and other international staff who have suffered tremendous losses. We are particularly concerned by reports that UN staff including Hedi Annabi, Head of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, are missing following the collapse of the UN headquarters building. The men and women of the United Nations work on the global frontlines, putting their lives at risk to help address the world’s most pressing problems. Many of them have paid an enormous price today.
“We are committing $1 million today to address the most urgent humanitarian and re-construction needs in Haiti. The United Nations Foundation is calling on its partners and friends to add their support by contributing to the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which is the UN’s humanitarian fund responding to emergencies like the earthquake in Haiti. Donations can be made on-line at www.unfoundation.org/donate/cerf.html.
“We note UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s statement that UN agencies are deploying to provide humanitarian assistance in close coordination with all parties on the ground. Such quick action, and the release of $10 million from CERF, is vital in preventing even further loss of life. We are grateful for the close coordination of the U.S. Government and other partners to ensure that timely, effective assistance gets to those that need it most.
“We are closely following reports about the devastation to facilities of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). This ongoing peacekeeping effort, comprised of over 9000 international forces, has been in place since the mid-1990s to enhance stability in the country. The UN is working side-by-side with Haitians to provide important security sector reforms, offer election monitoring and police training. UN peacekeepers now face the difficult transition to aid in the search, rescue and recovery efforts in the country, while confronting major personal losses of friends and colleagues.
“The UN Foundation and Vodafone Foundation are also supporting the immediate deployment of two emergency response teams who will work to rebuild the communications infrastructure crippled by the earthquake. These teams, from the World Food Programme and the UN partner Télécoms Sans Frontières, are deploying to provide emergency communications systems that will enable relief workers to coordinate the delivery of life-saving aid and supplies.”
About the United Nations Foundation
The United Nations Foundation, a public charity, was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. We build and implement public/private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and work to broaden support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach. Through our campaigns and partnerships, we connect people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The campaigns we conduct reduce child mortality, empower women and girls, create a new energy future, secure peace and human rights, and promote technology innovation to improve health outcomes. For more information, visit www.unfoundation.org.
Just one year from now, in January 2011, voters in Southern Sudan – one of the most war-damaged places in the world – are due to take part in a referendum that gives them the choice of independence or continued unity with the North. For the vote to take place, many significant administrative, social and political obstacles must be overcome. Failure risks a return to conflict that could destabilize the region for decades to come.