UN blue helmets respond to second school collapse in Haiti in five days

12 November 2008
Collapsed Grace Divine school in  Canape Vert section of Port-au-Prince

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) today rushed an emergency response team to the site of a collapsed school in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, where eight people were injured and sent to hospital this morning.

MINUSTAH immediately deployed a specialist crowd control unit to enable rescue workers to dig through and clear the rubble, as several hundred anxious parents flocked to the Grace Divine school.

A spokesperson for MINUSTAH confirmed that seven students and a teacher sustained minor injuries after the two-storey building partially collapsed around 11 a.m. this morning during a break in classes.

“As far as we know there are no people trapped in the building,” MINUSTAH Spokesperson Sophie Boutaud-de-la-Combe told the UN News Centre.

The religious school in the Canape Vert section of the capital is attended by some 135 children and looks similar in construction to the school that collapsed in the Pétionville suburb of Port-au-Prince last Friday, killing 89 people and hospitalizing 150.

Ms. Boutaud-de-la-Combe said a senior Haitian Government official told a local broadcaster that “this is not the time to say who is responsible – it’s the time to take decisions and act.”

Later this afternoon, two children suffered minor injuries when students panicked and raced out of Le Paradigme School, in the Christ-Roi neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. Ms. Boutaud-de-la-Combe said the cause of the panic is not yet known.


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