Image: Rescued security guard
Paul J. Richards  /  AFP - Getty Images
Tarmo Joveer raises his fist in the air in triumph after rescue workers freed him after being trapped for 40 hours in the rubble of the collapsed United Nations Stabilization Headquarters in Port Au Prince. Joveer, a security agent, was able to walk away.
updated 1/14/2010 7:34:12 PM ET 2010-01-15T00:34:12

Crews rescued a security guard Thursday from the U.N. headquarters building that collapsed in the Haiti earthquake, "a small miracle" as 36 U.N. personnel were confirmed dead and nearly 200 remained missing, the head of the world body said.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the U.N.'s mission chief, Hedi Annabi, and his chief deputy, Luis Carlos da Costa, are among roughly 100 people still buried in the rubble of the five-story headquarters building.

The U.N. chief said early Thursday morning, rescuers at the collapsed headquarters building heard "scratching sounds" and located Tarmo Joveer, an Estonian close protection officer, under about 4 meters (13 feet) of rubble. He was given water through a rubber pipe, pulled out and taken to the U.N. mission hospital run by Argentine staff.

"It was a small miracle during a night which brought few other miracles," Ban said.

Speaking by videoconference from Port-au-Prince, David Wimhurst, a spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping mission, said Joveer was covered in dust and dehydrated, but "he walked out of there unscathed. ... He was very, very grateful to be alive."

Wimhurst said early Thursday afternoon that the dead include 19 U.N. peacekeepers, four international police officers and 13 civilians. The injured include 26 military, nine police and 38 civilians, of whom 24 are Haitian nationals.

Wimhurst said about 160 national and international civilian staffers, 18 police, and 10 military personnel are still missing.

"I think the first 72 hours will be critically important," Ban said. "Now we are approaching 48 hours... I hope that we will have more and more survivors."

"The priority remains emergency search and rescue. People remain alive under the rubble, and we must save as many lives as we can," he said.

Video: Banks, military, civilians join aid effort Rescue teams from China, the U.S., France and the Dominican Republic have arrived with dogs and listening equipment and Ban said more teams will be arriving soon.

The U.N. chief said he requested helicopters, engineers, medical equipment and medical items from the United States, "as much as they can provide," and requests for transport helicopters and other critical assets will be made to many other countries and international partners.

Ban said Assistant Secretary-General Edmond Mulet will arrive in Port-au-Prince Thursday afternoon to take charge of the U.N. mission and coordinate the international relief effort.

"He will immediately begin to work to coordinate the assistance and rescue operations, in close coordination with the Haitian leadership, including President (Rene) Preval," Ban said.

The U.N.'s Haitian mission — spread across the country — includes 7,000 peacekeeping troops, 2,090 international police, 490 international civilian staffers, 1,235 local civilian staffers and 215 U.N. volunteers, he said. The force, known as MINUSTAH, was brought in after a bloody 2004 rebellion following decades of violence and poverty in the nation.

Video: Bill Clinton: ‘Before this, Haiti was making progress’ The secretary-general said the 3,000 peacekeepers in and around Port-au-Prince "are patrolling and they are trying to maintain law and order around the city."

"So far, I think we have been able to maintain such order," Ban said. "We are extremely careful and we will pay attention to prevent any crimes, any violence."

With the U.S. sending 3,500 troops and massive aid to Haiti, the secretary-general was asked whether the U.S. will answer to the U.N. or whether it will operate independently.

Ban said he told the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday "that all international aid and assistance should be coordinated with MINUSTAH, the United Nations" with Mulet in charge of coordinating the effort.

Did that mean that Mulet, who was Annabi's predecessor as the top U.N. envoy in Haiti, would direct the U.S. military?

"The force commander of the U.N. peacekeeping operations will coordinate, I hope, with the U.S. military assistance team," Ban said. "I am sure that the military leaders will fully coordinate with each other."

Ban said U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes will launch an emergency appeal for Haiti at U.N. headquarters on Friday afternoon, hopefully alongside former U.S. president Bill Clinton, his special envoy for Haiti who had been trying to raise money to rebuild the impoverished Caribbean nation after several devastating hurricanes in 2008.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: 'There are too many dead bodies'

  1. Closed captioning of: 'There are too many dead bodies'

    >> tonight. "nightly news" begins now.

    >>> good evening from port-au-prince, haiti , where we are relying on a satellite telephone for our audio communications tonight. we are in a desolate, wooded area, sporadic housing, no power. just off the main landing strip here. this is still such a desperate country tonight with really no visible government here in charge. the united states has really taken de facto control of the air strip . here is what is happening as we go on the air tonight. the international red cross made news today, grim news with their latest estimates that the death toll before it's over will number between 45,000 and 50,000. the urgent needs right now, food, water and fuel. as everyone here has said, as the president himself said today, aid to haiti is a top priority for everyone in the free world . again, another desperate day here in haiti , a race against time that continues around the clock. this city has been crushed. from the air it looks like the life has gone out of it, and from the ground, it almost has. the bodies are everywhere, frozen under the concrete. some painful last moments, terrified people grasping each other for comfort. there are so many of the dead, the morgue is full. today, haiti 's president estimated he has buried 7,000 citizens so far in a common grave.

    >> we need some help to carry them dead bodies and try to bury them.

    >> dazed and numb, the living seem almost oblivious, except for the smell of death. make-shift masks can't block out the smell. the rescue effort is still desperate. bare hands, in some cases a human chain of muscle, and the odd backhoe. that is a much needed help today. within hours of walking off the plane, the fairfax county , virginia, search and rescue team found a u.n. worker.

    >> no matter who it is, if it's one or a hundred, we are going to try to save one person at a time.

    >> time is running out quickly. this primary school was flattened with close to 700 children inside. and today there was no sign of life. staying alive is the only priority. people are scavenging the rubble for food and water. as one aid worker put it today, money is worth nothing right now. water is the currency.

    >> we need some water, some food, everything.

    >> people are carrying what remains of their life on their heads. shelter is any open space . and if you're lucky, a piece of plastic.

    >> start doing something so people can have courage.

    >> aid is starting to arrive from all over the world. so much of it at once for a time today the airport had to temporarily hold incoming flights. it took six hours to unload one aircraft from china because of an equipment shortage. getting relief supplies distributed is another challenge. there wasn't enough fuel to get to the hardest-hit areas. this is a typical scene along one of the many boulevards in port-au-prince. a lot of people, again, are carrying all that they can because their homes have been destroyed. and as we were driving by this spot, we noticed something absolutely awful. someone has dropped off a body on a make-shift plywood gurney covered in a blanket. people are simply walking by. there are too many dead bodies in laithy for any one of them to attract too much attention.

    >> i need help.

    >> with grim scenes like that everywhere here in port-au-prince, it's hard to believe some people can still muster a smile, let alone a little boy who lost his home. ask what happened to his home.

    >> his house got a problem, and he lost his family,

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