The Secretary-General offers condolences to the millions of people who have been severely affected by Hurricane Sandy -- above all those who lost loved ones or their homes across a wide arc of destruction encompassing the United States and the Caribbean region.
The Secretary-General has written to President Obama, and has spoken to the Presidents of Haiti and the Dominican Republic and Mayor Bloomberg of New York City, to express his solidarity at this time of crisis and to pledge the assistance of the United Nations, if requested, in the recovery effort. He also intends to speak with other Caribbean leaders and with the Governors of New York and New Jersey. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has mobilized to provide maximum possible assistance.
The UN complex itself sustained damage due to high wind and flooding, which affected communications and other infrastructure. Despite disruptions, all essential operations went ahead, including a meeting of the Security Council, and contacts with peacekeeping and other missions around the world were maintained without interruption. The Headquarters complex has re-opened and is expected to be back at full capacity shortly.
The Secretary-General notes that when the host country is hit by a natural disaster, the UN family suffers as well. Like our neighbours in the metropolitan area, UN staff have been affected in various ways by the storm. He thanks staff for pressing ahead with their work even as they tend to their families' needs. He also encourages staff to contribute to the relief efforts by volunteering or making financial donations.
At this time of crisis, the Secretary-General’s thoughts and prayers are with all those in need. He pledges the full support of the United Nations in rebuilding today, strengthening global disaster risk reduction, and preparing the world for a safer tomorrow.