January 14, 2010
As horrific as the news is coming in from Port-au-Prince, there is good news for Nepalis who have family members and loved ones in Haiti. According to Brigadier General Ramindra Chhetri, spokesperson for the National Army, all Nepal Army soldiers deployed in the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti are safe, except for one man who sustained unspecified injuries. More than 1100 Nepali Army troops are on the impoverished island of which 350 are deployed in Port-au-Prince. This comes as an enormous relief since it is reported that 100 people are missing in the rubble of the collapsed UN headquarters building in Haiti – including mission chief Hedi Annabi.
Meanwhile, according to Republica, the contingent of Nepali police is also believed to be safe. There are 27 Nepal Police officers stationed in Port-au-Prince and 125 policemen stationed in Cape Haikian, 260 kilometers north of the capital. Additional good news: The 11 Armed Police Force officials from Nepal are reported unharmed.
According to a trusted source, who contacted me earlier today, most of the Nepali personnel -- including police, armed police and even UN civilians who ordinarily worked at UN HQ -- were away for a function at Nepalese Battalion HQ during the fateful event. This is incredibly good news, given the tens of thousands of casualties expected to be eventually tallied as dead or missing. Chinese peacekeepers, for instance -- according to Chinese newspapers -- have already suffered eight dead and ten missing.
Personnel of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti include:
9,065 total uniformed personnel
488 international civilian personnel
1,212 local civilian staff
CONTRIBUTING COUNTRIES to UN mission in Haiti, in addition to Nepal:
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Jordan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, United States and Uruguay.
Argentina, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Columbia, Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Croatia, Egypt, El Salvador, France, Guinea, India, Jamaica, Jordan, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Senegal, Serbia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Togo, Turkey, United States, Uruguay and Yemen.
Photographs below are primarily from twitter and video grabs.