New York, Jan 20 : The UN Security Council Tuesday authorised the deployment of additional military and police to Haiti to bolster security and assist in massive relief operations for victims of last week's earthquake.
The council unanimously voted to allow the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti to increase to a total of 8,940 troops and 3,711 police, an increase of 3,500 personnel over the original strength.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the authorisation to deploy additional troops and police sent a "clear signal that the world is with Haiti".
The UN and its agencies, with the strong support of the US government, plan to feed up to one million people within a week as the quake relief operation is scaling up by the day, Ban said Tuesday.
Ban said he personally received "renewed support" from US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who pledged to do their utmost to bring relief to the Haitian people.
"Our relief operations are gearing up quickly," Ban said. "For those who have lost everything, of course help cannot come soon enough. The good news is we are making rapid progress despite extremely difficult logistical challenges."
The US has begun lifting food supplies and other essentials by helicopters to remote areas in Haiti in an effort to increase the flow of aid to quake victims, said John Holmes, the top UN humanitarian coordinator.
Ban said the Port-au-Prince international airport's capacity to handle landings has improved while some hospitals in the capital have begun functioning again. More than 200 food distribution centres have opened to feed 200,000 people daily.
But Ban said the relief operation plans to increase food distribution to up one million within a week from 200,000 with the arrival of more food supplies and other daily essentials items.
Holmes, speaking in in New York, said that US helicopters were picking up supplies in the Dominican Republic and carrying them in slings to areas not reachable by roads in Haiti.
"It is very useful, but it is not an airdrop," Holmes said, adding that the UN favours use of helicopters to overcome the difficulty of clogged land transport. He said airdropping the materials could be dangerous to the population on the ground.
Ban and UN officials urged non-governmental organisations, which have been trying to enter Haiti to provide assistance, to coordinate their activities with the UN mission and not duplicate current efforts.
He asked NGOs not to overstretch Haiti's capacity to handle the relief operation.
MINUSTAH's acting chief Edmond Mulet, speaking through a videoconference in Port-au-Prince with reporters in New York, said the relief operation has improved day by day since he arrived to take over the decimated UN organisation last week.
Mulet said Haitians have begun organising themselves, bloc by bloc in the capital, to handle the humanitarian assistance provided by the international community.
Mulet, and UN officials in New York, said looting incidents have happened in the capital, but they were not different from the pre-quake period.
"We are not minimising anything," Mulet said. (DPA)