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Haiti is now back on the global postal grid, with a new United Nations-backed processing centre having been unveiled earlier this week capable of processing mail from all over the world.

The devastating 12 January earthquake destroyed the country's main post office and the building housing the Express Mail Service (EMS) in the capital, Port-au-Prince. Many post offices in other areas also sustained very heavy damage.

Member countries of the UN Universal Postal Union (UPU), who donated over $500,000 to help get the Haiti Post back on its feet, can now send mail to the country.

All postal items will go through the new 600-square metre processing site – which looks like an enormous tent and can withstand winds of up to 225 kilometres an hour, as well as strong seismic activity – purchased by the UN agency.

“The Post, because of its omnipresence and the services it provides to people and businesses, must be a priority in the devastated country's reconstruction efforts,” UPU Director General Edouard Dayan said at the facility's unveiling in Port-au-Prince on Tuesday.

Stressing the key role that postal services serve in stimulating Haiti's economy, he underlined that the country still requires emergency assistance. “But today we must look to the future and develop the essential infrastructures the country needs, including postal services.”

Mail exchanges between Haiti and the United States and France resumed on 3 May, while international postal services officially restarted eight days later. On average, Haiti receives 100 bags of mail every day from abroad.

Also on Haiti, the first-ever meeting of the international committee on the protection of Haiti's cultural heritage, much of which was damaged in the January quake, wrapped up its work today.

Set up by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and chaired by Haiti's Minister of Culture Marie-Laurence Jocelyn-Lassegue, the 10-member committee seeks to mobilize resources and coordinate all actions pertinent to the country's culture.

At the end of the two-day meeting, the body recommended taking urgent measures to rebuild the city of Jacmel, in the southeast, which was founded in the late 17th century and is on Haiti's tentative list of sites to be put forward for consideration for inscription on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

Also severely damaged in the disaster were much of Haiti's cultural infrastructure in Port-au-Prince, including the Cathedral, the National Palace and the Palace of Justice.

To date, UNESCO has some $3 million in emergency aid for education, media and coastal alert systems in Haiti.

“Regarding culture, however, we have only just received the first donation,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. Accra / Ghana/ Africa / Modernghana.com