Tuesday, March 23, 2010

British Minister Pledges Long-Term Help on Haiti Visit

International Development Minister Mike Foster

(AFP) - Britain is there to help Haiti for the long-haul, International Development Minister Mike Foster said Tuesday as he toured camps and a hospital in the quake-ravaged capital.

"No one walks away from the scenes of devastation I have seen today in 18 months," Foster told journalists in Port-au-Prince, largely flattened by the January 12 disaster which claimed more than 220,000 lives.

Foster said the British government had sent 20 million pounds (30 million dollars) in emergency money to Haiti in the immediate aftermath of the quake and that the British public had since raised another 91 million pounds.

Britain's aid money would be disbursed through multilateral partners like the World Bank, Foster said, adding that a senior official from his department would attend a March 31 donors conference in New York.

The crucial meeting could commit as much as 11.5 billion dollars for the reconstruction effort. The disaster caused an estimated 7.9 billion dollars of damage, equivalent to a record 120 percent of Haiti's GDP.

Ten weeks after the 7.0-magnitude quake, progress in Port-au-Prince is painfully slow and the government and international aid groups are racing against time to relocate more than 200,000 people in high-risk camps.

Many lie on steep slopes that could be washed away when the rainy season comes. Despite the danger, camp dwellers are loath to move away to new locations outside the capital where they fear there will be no real job prospects.

Source: MySinchew

No comments:

Post a Comment