Statement by H.E. Ambassador Gunnar Pálsson Permanent Representative
Under-Secretary General Holmes,
Allow me to reiterate my sincere condolences to the government and people of Haiti following the calamity that struck their country last Tuesday. Also, our hearts go out to the families of UN staff who lost their lives or are still unaccounted for following the disaster.
We are confronted with the daunting task of bringing emergency relief to those who survived and to help them reconstruct their devastated society. This will require a momentous and coordinated effort on the part of - not least - the United Nations and the different humanitarian organizations.
In response to the flash appeal, my Government has decided to disburse without delay 7 million Icelandic kronur to the World Food Programme´s efforts in Haiti.
At the same time, the Icelandic International Search and Rescue Team that arrived on the scene within 24 hours of the earthquake and was among the first to touch down in Port-au-Prince, will remain engaged over the coming days. This is a team of 37 specialists, fully equipped and self-sufficient for up to seven days, deployed in coordination with OCHA/UNDAC as well as Haitian authorities.
Finally, I should mention that we were able to use the aricraft carrying the team to Haiti to evacuate dozens people from the disaster area.
Before I close, I would like to commend Secretary General and the United Nations system for their leadership and vigorous commitment to relieving the plight of the Haitian people in these last trying days.