25 January 2010 The postal sector, a key economic “motor”, will help to spur recovery in Haiti in the wake of a catastrophic earthquake earlier this month, a senior United Nations official said today.
“Haitians need effective postal services to be able to receive and send mail and goods as well as make financial transactions, including money transfers,” Edouard Dayan, Director General of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), said.
Nearly 1 million Haitians reside in the United States, 130,000 in Canada, and 80,000 in France, among other places.
“Setting up efficient postal services in Haiti will contribute to stimulating the economy and alleviating inhabitants’ difficulties,” Mr. Dayan noted.
The postal service in Haiti, which employs 600 people, has been completely paralyzed by the 7.0-magnitude quake, which struck the country on 12 January. With the exception of three post offices on the outskirts of the devastated capital, Port-au-Prince, most of the nine outlets, including the main sorting centre, in the city were completely destroyed.
With offers to help rebuild Haitian Post pouring into the UPU on a daily basis, the agency is working with Member States to coordinate efforts to help the system get back on its feet.
“In the aftermath of the catastrophe, we have an opportunity to help Haiti Post rebuild but also modernize its operations and activities so that it can play an even more important role in revitalizing the economy, which is essential to the country’s recovery,” the UPU chief stressed.
A US team of postal inspectors will travel to Haiti next week to help secure mail trapped in the rubble and identify what is needed to resume postal exchanges with other nations.
Postal services worldwide are helping out in other ways. Germany’s Deutsche Post DHL has deployed its emergency response team based at the Port-au-Prince airport, while France’s La Post issued a postage stamp to raise funds for the French Red Cross’ relief efforts.
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