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The magnitude 7 earthquake that hit Haiti on 12 January 2010 left over 220,000 people dead – including 102 United Nations staff on site (according to UNSG Le Roy at the Security Council on 20 January 2011). 1.3 million people were left without shelter and in all three and half million people have been affected (a third of the population). The costs of the damage are estimated at 7.9 billion dollars (120% of the Haitian GDP), according to the Haitian government, the World Bank and the UN. The international community launched a major mobilization to respond to this unprecedented disaster.

An aerial view of the United Nations’ headquarters in Port-au-Prince, Haiti - 13 January 2010 - UN Photo/Logan Abassi

1. Latest developments Retour à la table des matières

- On 24 March 2014, the Security Council held a quarterly meeting on the situation in Haiti and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

The Special Representative and head of the MINUSTAH, Mrs Sandra Honoré, reported on the stabilization of the situation in Haiti and on progress made in terms of security with a decrease in violence in 2013, and in terms of politics with elections to be held this year. Nevertheless, efforts needed to be made on the humanitarian level where the cholera epidemic remained the most important in the world.

Considering this report, all delegations supported the proposals made by the Secretary-General to modify the mandate of the MINUSTAH. The Council expressed support for a smaller peacekeeping mission that would be focused on the support to the political process as well as on a gradual transfer of the MINUSTAH competences to local authorities by 2016.

The Permanent Representative of France underlined the importance of the strengthening of the rule of law in Haiti as well as the reinforcement of the Haitian police. He encouraged the implementation of a strategic review by the Secretary-General by the summer of 2014.

- On 10 October 2013, the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution presented by the United States in order to renew the mandate of UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) until 15 October 2014. As the security situation of the country has registered significant improvements, the operation will gradually reduce its staff and “review its configuration”. The Security Council also decided that the military component of the operation would be capped at 5,021 soldiers and the police component at 2,601 people. The Security Council recalled that the reinforcement of the capacity of the Haitian National Police remained “one of the most crucial tasks of MINUSTAH”, given the threats that the country still has to face (gang violence, organized crime, drugs and human trafficking).

The complete timeline of events here.

2. Mobilization of the international community Retour à la table des matières

— Financial contributions

On 18 February 2010, in the presence of the Secretary-General and Bill Clinton, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Haiti, the UN launched an appeal to raise funds of $1.44 billion in order to come to the aid of the three million people affected by the earthquake. A third of this funding was to be used to buy food ($480 million) and the rest is used to fund temporary shelters and support the agricultural, education and health sectors. This funding included a previous appeal for $577 million launched in the wake of the disaster, which, as of mid-February, had been achieved.

On 31 March 2010 an "international donors conference of donors for a new future in Haiti" was held in New York at the UN headquarters. The Haitian government presented its "Plan of Action for the rehabilitation and development of Haiti", based on four key themes: land, economy, social services and institutions.

A total of 9.9 billion dollars was pledged for immediate relief and long-term reconstruction of the country, thanks to 59 donors, including $5.26 billion allocated to finance specific projects of the national action plan over the next 18 months.

— Reinforcement of MINUSTAH

- Following the departure of President Aristide in February 2004, the international community took action, having been authorized by a UN Security Council resolution to immediately deploy a Multinational Interim Force (MIF) to Haiti for a period of three months (United States, Canada and France).

The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) replaced the MIF in June 2004 (resolution 1542).

MINUSTAH’s initial mandate provided it with the following objectives:
— Consolidation of stability and the rule of law in Haiti
— Provision of support to the Haitian authorities to fight against armed groups and trafficking
— Support the strengthening of the Haitian National Police and the reform of the administration of justice
— Humanitarian assistance and development aid

- Following the earthquake that resulted in the death of 102 of its staff members, including its Head of Mission, Hedi Annabi, and his deputy, Luis Carlos da Costa, MINUSTAH focused its efforts on emergency humanitarian assistance and maintaining law and order in the devastated areas. Edmond Mulet, former Head of MINUSTAH before Mr. Annabi’s appointment, was appointed acting Head of MINUSTAH.

The maximum authorised number of troops is 8940 military and 4391 police. The mandate of MINUSTAH was extended until 13 October 2011 (Resolution 1944).

The Security Council authorized a first increase of the authorized personnel a few days after the earthquake (Resolution 1908 of 19 January 2010)

France provides a contingent of around 36 police officers and gendarmes to MINUSTAH, with a mandate to help reorganize the Haitian National Police.

A French policeman and his colleagues Blue helmets in Port-au-Prince, December 2009 / Photos : MAE@Frédéric de La Mure

3. France’s response to the earthquake Retour à la table des matières

- Emergency relief phase

After the earthquake, France immediately mobilized its efforts. The first international emergency relief team arrived from the French West Indies on 13 January at 12:35 pm (local time). Around 1,170 French personnel and almost 2,000 tons of humanitarian equipment have been deployed on site. This equipment included in particular 1,500 tents, 500 blankets, 200 tarpaulins, and 14 power generators.

Provision of medical care to the Haitian population began on 13 January. Efforts gathered momentum on 18 January, with the deployment of a Sécurité Civile field hospital (70 medical personnel). In all, the 160 medical personnel, including SAMU [mobile emergency medical service] personnel, treated more than 17,000 people, hospitalized 2,550 people and carried out 1,300 surgical procedures. This phase ended on 22 February with the withdrawal of the field hospital.

Four water purification units were installed from 16 January to 17 February with the capacity to supply 40,000 people. They supplied 689,000 liters of water.

- From emergency phase to reconstruction

During this second phase that started late February, the French effort focused on supporting the population and the reconstruction of the country.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited Haiti on 17 February 2010. During his visit, he announced an assistance package amounting to €326 million over two years.

On 31 March 2010, French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Bernard Kouchner participated in the "international donors conference for a new future in Haiti" at the UN Headquarters in New York in which he announced that French aid would amount to 180 million euros for 2010-2011. This sum is in addition to the cancellation of bilateral debt as well as direct contributions of France to European and multilateral aid. Thus, the total amount of French aid over two years will amount to 326 million euros.

The aid breaks down as follows:

— €24 million for emergency aid;

— €56 million for the cancellation of the bilateral debt;

— €65 million as direct contributions of France to European and multilateral aid;

— €40 million for goods;

— €40 million for the continuation of financial aid planned before the earthquake;

— €100 million of additional financial aid.

An interministerial mission led by Pierre Duquesne was tasked with coordinating and implementing French aid and preparing for the New York Conference on reconstruction in Haiti on 31 March 2010 (see above). The French West Indies hosted an international conference for local government authorities in preparation for the New York Conference (see our file).

At the end of July 2010, €126 million had been disbursed for the reconstruction phase.

This aid was focused primarily on the recovery of the Haitian State by providing new vehicles for disaster and emergency services and financing the training of senior officials. French aid is also financing the implementation of an efficient land registry and the rehabilitation of numerous buildings, including schools.

On 20 September 2010 in New York, Prime Minister of Haiti Jean Max Bellerive, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the rehabilitation of the State University Hospital of Haiti, which was greatly damaged by the earthquake of 12 January. This initiative is in response to the request of the Haitian authorities, while health related needs are immense. With a capacity of 500 beds, the State University Hospital of Port-au-Prince is the largest in the country. It is critical for the Haitian capital to have it start functioning again. Through this joint initiative, France and the United States will equally co-finance this project for a total cost of $50 million.

4. The European Union response Retour à la table des matières

- On 31 March 2010, at the international donors conference for Haiti, Catherine Ashton, High Representative for EU Foreign and Security Policy, announced that the EU would release 1.235 billion euros ($1.6 billion) for the Plan of Action for the rehabilitation and development of Haiti. This is in addition to the 295 million already committed for humanitarian assistance.

Ashton noted the presence in the field of European contingents (police, military and civil security)

She also said that European citizens had collected 650 million euros, bringing the total support of the European Union to nearly 3 billion dollars.

- On 1st March 2010, the European Union reported the following figures concerning its aid to Haiti:

— €315 million in humanitarian aid (€120 million from the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office + contributions from 18 Member States)

— €100 million in non-humanitarian assistance, aimed in particular at strengthening government capacities

— €200 million mobilized for the longer-term by the European Development Fund

- The EU Council decided that, in response to the appeal launched by the United Nations, the EU would provide:

— Expertise and technical equipment in order to open up routes to facilitate delivery of aid

— Maritime logistics capabilities making it possible to do without port facilities

— A joint EU contribution of 320 police officers aimed at temporarily strengthening the police capability of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). This would include a contribution from the EU Member States which participate in the European Gendarmerie Force. (France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Spain are members of the European Gendarmerie Force).

The Council also approved the High Representative’s proposal to establish a cell known as “EUCO Haiti” to coordinate the deployment of military and security assets by the Member States aimed at responding to the needs outlined by the United Nations. EUCO will report to the European Commission’s Monitoring and Information Center, which coordinates contributions from the Member States related to civil protection.

5. Latest French statements Retour à la table des matières

-  More French statements here

(March 2014)

6. Reference documents Retour à la table des matières

- 10 October 2013 - Security Council - Haiti - Resolution 2119

- 28 January 2013 - Press Statement by the Security Council

- 12 October 2012 - Security Council - Resolution 2070 - renewinging the mandate of MINUSTAH

- 17 May 2011 - Haïti - Press Statement by Mr Gérard Araud, President of the Security Council

- 6 April 2011 - Statement by the President of the Security Council (S/PRST/2011/7)

- 14 October 2010 - Resolution 1944 - Extending the mandate of MINUSTAH

- 10 December 2010 - Haiti - Press statement by the President of the Security Council

- 4 June 2010 - Resolution 1927 - Increasing the number of police forces of MINUSTAH

- 17 February 2010 - Press conference by President Sarkozy

- 19 January 2010 - Resolution 1908 - Increasing the authorized ceilings of MINUSTAH

- 16 Jannuary 2010 - Earthquake in Haiti - Article by Bernard Kouchner, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, published int "The Washington Post"

- 13 October 2009 - Resolution 1892 - Renewing MINUSTAH’s mandate

- 6 April 2009 - Statement by the President of the Security Council

- 11 - 14 March 2009 - Report of the Security Council Mission to Haiti

- 14 October 2008 - Resolution 1840 - Renewing MINUSTAH’s mandate

- 30 April 2004 - Resolution 1542 - Establishing MINUSTAH’s mandate

7. Useful links Retour à la table des matières

- Read the news focus on Haiti on the UN News Centre’s website

- Read the file on Haiti on the French Foreign Ministry’s website

- Visit MINUSTAH’s website

- Press Kits for the International Conference of World Cities and Regions for Haiti

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