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DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Haiti, struck by megastorm Sandy, asks for aid
by Staff Writers
Port-Au-Prince (AFP) Nov 1, 2012


Sandy inflicts major damage on UN headquarters
United Nations (AFP) Nov 1, 2012 - The UN headquarters suffered major damage from superstorm Sandy, officials said Thursday as the New York landmark opened for the first time since the devastating hurricane hit the city.

The storm caused a small fire and severe flooding in the basement floors of the building which is currently undergoing a renovation costing more than $2 billion, said Yukio Takasu, assistant secretary general for management.

"This extreme weather event caused unprecedented damage on UN premises from Monday to Tuesday," Takasu told a UN General Assembly meeting.

The hurricane winds also tore off a plastic sheet protecting the domed roof of the General Assembly, which will need repairs because of serious leaks.

As much of the world focuses on the storm-devastated northeastern United States, tiny impoverished Haiti, also dealt a powerful blow by Hurricane Sandy, is appealing for international aid.

The storm, a powerful category two hurricane when it tore through Haiti last Thursday, killed more than 50 people there. It destroyed crops and homes and crippled transportation in the nation, the poorest in the Americas.

"I am launching an appeal to international solidarity to come help the population, to help support the completion of our efforts towards saving lives and property," Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said Wednesday evening during a cabinet meeting rebroadcast on local media.

According to statistics presented during the meeting, the agricultural sector registered a loss of more than $104 million.

"Several thousand kilometers of agricultural roads were destroyed and thousands of heads of cattle were swept away by the flood waters, which also destroyed thousands of hectares of plantations," Agriculture Minister Jacques Thomas said.

Health Minister Florence Guillaume said "numerous cases" of cholera have also been reported in the wake of the storm.

"What we've just heard is frightening. We should act quickly for the people and put ourselves to work to improve the situation," Lamothe said.

"Without a doubt we don't have enough means, but we must show we have the will," he added, reiterating his call for international support.

On Thursday, the government communication bureau indicated that Venezuela has proposed building 5,000 homes and had already sent three planes and a boat loaded with 240 tonnes of food.

France has promised to rebuild seven destroyed bridges and Mexico has offered food.

Haiti is still rebuilding after the massive 2010 earthquake that leveled much of the capital, left hundreds of thousands homeless and killed more than 200,000 people.

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