Haiti

UN gears up to support weekend elections in Haiti

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The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) has announced plans to continue its support for the country's electoral process when polls are held this weekend to fill a number of public offices.

"We are mobilizing nearly 600 MINUSTAH staff, 200 vehicles and 11 helicopters," Marc Plum, head of electoral support in the mission's Civil Affairs Bureau, told a press briefing in Port-au-Prince on Thursday.

The elections will affect some 300,000 voters in the country, filling offices such as mayor and city delegate in several regions.

As with the preceding three rounds of elections, MINUSTAH will support the Haitian authorities in the electoral process, including by bolstering the security efforts of the national police, Mr. Plum said.

On Sunday, "the Haitian people can show to the international community that democracy is alive in Haiti," he said.

In another development, the mission continues to help victims of Tuesday's ferry accident at Jérémie, where 15 people were killed and 49 injured when the boat suddenly pitched, throwing scores of passengers overboard.

UN Police (UNPOL) arrived on the scene in support of efforts by their Haitian counterparts to evacuate the injured. MINUSTAH military officers also arrived to help with security. In addition, members of the mission's human rights team helped reunite two young children with their parents.

MINUSTAH and the authorities continue to temporarily shelter the passengers that could not go back to their homes, according to a UN spokesperson.