Tuesday, September 30, 2008

WFP Struggles To Find Haiti Aid

The World Food Program (WFP) only has resources to help flood victims in Haiti through November and needs more money for the Caribbean country hit by four storms, the director of the UN agency said.

While the WFP has the knowledge to deal with the kind of disasters that have hit Haiti, inadequate funding prevents the program from getting the job done, Josette Sheeran said.

"WFP knows how to do this. We do it in tsunamis, floods, earthquakes all over the world, and that's why the world created us," Ms Sheeran said in an interview.

"Our mission is to come in and help with the emergency team, but right now we don't have the funding to get the job done."

The United States, Japan, the European Community, Switzerland and Canada have stepped up with $US11 million ($13.3) of $US54 million needed, according to the WFP.

Haiti was hit by four storms; Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike in just over a month.

The storms killed at least 800 people, including 520 in the hardest-hit city of Gonaives.

More than 800 others remain missing, and several hundred thousand people were left homeless or in dire need of help.

The storms set back Haiti's economic development by several years, Haiti's President said last week.

Haiti may have lost 3 to 4 percentage points of gross domestic product after the storms ripped through an impoverished country denuded of forest because of logging and wood-burning to produce charcoal for fuel.

The WFP has already distributed food to some 500,000 people, including nearly 300,000 in Gonaives.

The agency plans to assist 800,000 people around the country within the next six months.

Nearly one month after the disaster, some 3 million cubic metres of mud still need to be removed from Gonaives.

Experts say about $US30 million is needed to clean up the city.

- Reuters

Source: Abc.Net.Au

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