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Sweden to assist Haiti quake victims

David Landes · 13 Jan 2010, 16:06

Published: 13 Jan 2010 14:25 GMT+01:00
Updated: 13 Jan 2010 16:06 GMT+01:00

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The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskap – MSB) said on Wednesday it will be sending two people "as early as tonight" to support United Nations Disaster Assessment & Coordination (UNDAC) teams on their way to Haiti.

“It’s not uncommon for us to receive requests from the UN to help with IT and communications support when there is natural disaster,” MSB spokesperson Karin Wiklund told The Local.

“It’s one of the areas where we’ve proven ourselves rather capable.”

According to foreign media reports, the quake, which measured 7.0 on the Richter-scale, brought widespread damage to the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, leveling dozens of buildings, including the National Palace.

So far, there have been no official estimates of the number of casualties, although early indications are that the loss of life will be profound.

The headquarters of the UN mission in Port-au-Prince also collapsed, according to a statement by the international body.

According to the Swedish foreign ministry, ten Swedes working for the UN in Haiti were believed to be in Port-au-Prince at the time of the quake.

A foreign ministry spokesperson told Sveriges Television (SVT) that seven of the Haiti-based Swedes had contacted the ministry to say that they were fine.

Three other Swedes, however, remain unaccounted for, along with a number of other UN staff stationed in Port-au-Prince.

“We know there will be casualties but we cannot give figures for the time being,” Alain Le Roy, the chief of UN peacekeeping forces, told The Associated Press news agency in New York.

The foreign ministry has also been unable to contact Sweden’s honourary consul in Port-au-Prince, as both fixed-line and mobile telephone networks remained out of service following the quake, the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper reports.

Story continues below…

In addition to preparations by Sweden’s Civil Contingencies Agency, the Swedish branch of the Red Cross">Red Cross has teamed up with the Expressen newspaper in a drive for donations to assist victims of the earthquake.

According to the head of operations in Haiti for the Swedish chapter of the Star of Hope aid group, around half the buildings in and around Port-au-Prince have been destroyed.

The organization, which operates several projects near the Haitian capital, has also launched an appeal for aid for Haitian earthquake victims, as have a number of other Swedish charities.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:05 January 13, 2010 by yankinsweden
Its horrible that the people of Haiti have to go through more pain and suffering when they have endured so much already. However, maybe out of this horrible disaster the Western world will keep to its promises of helping the most impoverished nation in the Western Hemisphere. Its about time that the world community stop talking and act on its empty promises. In times of great tragedy, humanity needs to use its arms and physically lift those that have been beaten down, by man or nature, to a place of freedom, equality, and justice. Haiti, was the first country during the days of slavery to free itself from its slave masters; maybe they are continuously being taught a lesson by the world community, that equality, freedom, and justice, are just mere words and only apply to particular peoples. We will see how the world community reacts. Maybe Sweden will be the country of example to lead in assisting the Haitian people out of the constant nightmares they face daily.
18:57 January 13, 2010 by peropaco
I feel horribly sorry for the people of Haiti. I also feel sorry that this Sweden of mine could only muster up two people to send over to assist in this tragedy.
21:19 January 13, 2010 by Nemesis
@ yankinsweden

Well written. Good words. Welcome to Sverige.
21:35 January 13, 2010 by Mack
Canada will send our Disaster Assistance Relief Team (DART) which can provide clean water and medical facilities. They have also called two war ships back to port to be provisioned with supplies. A C17 Galaxy and Hercules aircraft will also be deployed.

Our Governor General, (Queens Rep in Canada) is Haitian and Canada has had many people there working on security and medicine before this disaster. So sad that such a poor country has to endure even more.
22:35 January 13, 2010 by efm
For the Americans here,

The US Navy is reportedly shifting the Carl Vincense, an aircraft carrier to move over to Haiti. It is also going to pick up a squadron of Helicopters in Florida.

The Haiti ambassador is also requesting a Hospital ship. I assume the "Mercy" or similar

hospital ship can be easily deployed. It will take a few days to have all these assets down there.

The Navy P-3 Orions recon aircrafts are now flying over Haiti trying to survey the damages.
16:26 January 14, 2010 by Beynch
Haiti is notoriously corrupt, chaotic, and lawless. It is also the most impoverished nation in the western hemisphere. Sending money is therefore doomed to failure as none or little of it would reach the needy. It would invariably end up in the pockets of Haitian henchmen. Instead Sweden should send medical equipment and infrastructure hardware, roaddbuilding equipment, earth movers, etc. And this should be done in copious amounts in my opinion. Haiti is in desperate need of such assistance,
02:59 January 15, 2010 by 369
sweden? where is the eu?

come on big monster, show you have a heart!

(strangely, also here only 2 people went to help almost on their own(!), according to local media...) Damnit eat your weaponry and send troops to help!
14:25 January 17, 2010 by Streja
Are you not following the media on this? The EU is giving loads.
15:18 January 17, 2010 by entry
Not for nothin' but... Sweden and the whole rest of the world not only knows about the tradgedy in Haiti but they are all pooling their resources together to respond at a rate that is astounding. Some of us say more can be done and this is true. What is happening today is a good thing. The nations of the world are joined and sailing ships planes and monies to help the people who are suffering in Haiti due to this earthquake. However, earthquake, tsunami, flood, blizard or heat wave aside, every day across the planet there are millions of people who suffer the same extreme conditions that the people in Haiti suffer today due to the earthquake. To them it is not freak of nature or tragedy, just life and premature death...
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