Dili, 20 January 2010 - Today the staff of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) held a memorial service for those colleagues and friends who lost their lives in the earthquake which destroyed the UN Headquarters in Haiti on 12 January.
The devastating tremor flattened the UN building in Port-au-Prince causing the death of many UN peacekeepers. As rescue and recovery operations are still underway, the exact number of UN fatalities is still unclear, though it is rising each day.
The solemn service at UNMIT was attended by a large number of Timorese and international staff members, many of them grieving lost friends and former colleagues. After the observation of a minute of silence SRSG Ameerah Haq addressed the Mission.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with those and with the families of those who lost their lives in the line of duty; with those United Nations heroes who gave their lives for Haiti and for the highest ideals of the United Nations. Their loss is harsh and cold and permanent. They were strong, beautiful, and dedicated people leading productive lives, cut off before their time. We grieve their passing, yearn to find them in our midst, but find only their spirit".
At the end of the memorial service staff members laid flowers in front of the pictures of the collapsed MINUSTAH headquarters honouring the memory of lost colleagues.