UN blue helmets continue rescue efforts one day after school collapses in

While there exists a chance that people are still alive trapped under the building”s rubble, the emergency rescue workers cannot use heavy equipment, the UN Secretary-General”s Special Representative to the Caribbean country, Hédi Annabi, told reporters on the scene today.The upper storey of the two-storey school collapsed during morning classes yesterday, crushing all of the classrooms on the ground level of La Promesse, collège Evangélique, a school in a suburb of the country”s capital, Port-au-Prince. As of yesterday afternoon at least 11 people had died in the hillside school, attended by students from kindergarten through to high school, and 75 had been taken to hospital with serious injuries, reported the UN mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).Blue helmets, including military engineers from Brazil, Chile and Ecuador, as well as military from the Philippines, arrived on the scene with ambulances, three generators and three sets of industrial strength lighting to aid emergency rescue efforts through the night, and provided hundreds of litres of water for dehydrated survivors. “Time is against us,” said the Commissioner of UN Police, Mamadou Mountaga Diallo.“We helped evacuate many people. Others are still under the rubble. It is a real disaster. We”re here with the Haitian National Police to facilitate rescue and evacuation,” Mr. Diallo added.MINUSTAH military and police are working in support of the Haitian authorities to rescue the students and teachers, care for survivors, recover remains and facilitate the provision of urgently needed supplies.A press release published by the mission yesterday said, “MINUSTAH wishes to express its profound shock and sadness at the tragic suffering and loss of life that have resulted from the collapse of a school in Pétion-Ville.”“MINUSTAH presents its deepest sympathy to the victims and their families, and expresses its solidarity with the Haitian Government and people at this most difficult time.” 8 November 2008More than 24 hours after a school building in Haiti collapsed on hundreds of children during class, United Nations peacekeepers were still trying to rescue survivors from the rubble. read more