MINUSTAH Peacekeepers Repair Key Haiti-Dominican Republic Bridge

By Dialogo
August 16, 2010

The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), together with a Japanese engineering company in the earth-quake ravaged country with the UN mission, finished repairing the Ouanaminthe Bridge, a key link to neighboring Dominican Republic, after four weeks of work on Aug. 6.

The 100-meter-long-bridge over the Massacre River, which links northeastern Ouanaminthe, Haiti and Dajabón, Dominican Republic, served as one of the four principal land crossings between both countries, but was in poor condition, with the supporting pillars having lost its stability, according to a press release issued by the mission.

MINUSTAH was established on June 4, 2004 by the UN Security Council following former President Bertrand Aristide’s departure from Haiti into exile after an armed conflict surfaced and spread to several cities. The mission’s original mandate was to restore a secure and stable environment, to promote the political process, to strengthen Haiti’s Government institutions and rule-of-law structures, as well as to promote and to protect human rights, according to the UN.

The bridge repair is one of many projects the mission has been developing in a broad effort to help Haiti rebuild in the aftermath of the January 12 earthquake which ravaged the capital city and its surrounding areas, killing more than 200,000 people and leaving 1.3 million others homeless, according to the UN News Centre.

The Japanese group, which includes a contingent of 350 engineers from the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF), is fully equipped with tractors and machinery to remove rubble, repair roads and access buildings. They joined the mission in February in response to a UN Security Council resolution calling for an increased peacekeeping operation in Haiti following the January earthquake, reported Maxims News Network.

The mission’s other projects include rehabilitating ports and roads, rebuilding and renovating hospitals and schools, and drilling wells.