UN death toll from Haitian earthquake reaches 61

21 January 2010

The number of United Nations staff killed in last week’s Haitian earthquake has climbed to 61 as rescuers continue their efforts to both find people alive and recover bodies from the collapsed headquarters of the UN peacekeeping mission in the country’s capital.

The toll, based on data received by this morning, comprises 23 civilian staff who worked for the peacekeeping mission (known as MINUSTAH), 24 military staff and 12 UN police officers. A World Food Programme (WFP) staffer and a UN Volunteer (UNV) are also confirmed to have been killed.

UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky told journalists today that 179 other UN personnel remain unaccounted for, a number that has fallen in recent days as communications have slowly improved on the ground since the quake rocked the capital, Port-au-Prince, and nearby towns on 12 January.

The overwhelming majority of the UN staff who remain unaccounted for worked for MINUSTAH, whose headquarters in the Christopher Hotel was levelled by the quake.

At least 20 other UN staff members were hospitalized or injured.

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