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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Off-the-Cuff

Transcript of Secretary-General's press encounter

Concepción, Chile, 6 March 2010

SG: It is with the deepest sadness that I am standing [here] before this destruction. I can feel your loss, your struggle.

The United Nations stands with the Chilean people in the difficult challenge of overcoming this natural disaster.

I am here to extend my deepest sympathies and condolences for the many people who have lost their lives in the wake of this tragedy.

I am at the same time very moved by the bravery, the fortitude and resilience of the Chilean people to build back their better future.

Your people were generous enough to rush to Haiti when it was hit.

Now is the moment for the international community, the United Nations, to stand with the Chilean people.

The extent of the destruction is beyond description. I feel all this for your loss, your struggle - remember that we are with you, our hearts are with you.

Having a fuller picture of the extent of the damage and destruction caused by the earthquake, I will report to the General Assembly of the United Nations and will discuss with the international community how best the United Nations can help - how best we can mobilize the humanitarian assistance, how we can help in the building and reconstruction.

I hope that more of the international community will send their very generous support to these great people and I highly commend the leadership of President Bachelet and also incoming President Piñera. We have been working very closely to overcome this tragedy.

I am convinced that with your bravery and strong determination, you will be able to build back a better future.

I am here to show my strong solidarity, my sense of hope, and with this solidarity and sense of hope, let us work together to help the Chilean people overcome this disaster and "fuerza Chile"!

Thank you very much, muchas gracias.

Q: What is your impression of the disaster here now?

SG: Words fail to describe my feelings. I am deeply saddened, beyond description. At the same time, I am very moved by such strong determination, by the people on the ground – they are all united.

Yesterday, I attended the telethon fundraising event. There I saw the Chilean people strongly united. When you are united, you have a future, you have hope. Let's build this country back better.