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US and EU pledge 2.75 billion USD in aid to rebuild Haiti

Wednesday, March 31st 2010 - 18:28 UTC
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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addressing the conference UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addressing the conference

United States and the European Union pledged Wednesday a combined 2.75 billion USD in aid for rebuilding Haiti following the January earthquake that killed about 200,000 people and devastated the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced 1.15 billion in US support at the start of an international donors’ conference at the United Nations in New York. The EU will provide 1.6 billion, foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told the gathering.

“We need Haiti to succeed,” Clinton said. “What happens there has repercussions far beyond its borders.”

Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, is turning to other governments for long-term support for new housing, schools, airports and government offices along with technical help to manage the recovery effort.

Brazil added 172 million USD to the pledge tally, Spain offered 356 million and France said it would give 180 million Euros toward the 3.9 billion sought to begin reconstruction in the next 18 months. France also will cancel 56 million Euros in Haitian debt, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said.

Clinton said the UN and donor nations should abandon what she called the “failed strategies” of the past and ensure that the rebuilding effort is sustainable and led by Haiti’s government.

In his address to the conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged a “wholesale national renewal, a sweeping exercise in national-building on a scale and scope not seen in generations.” He said that more funding is needed for the initial post-quake appeal for 1.4 billion USD in emergency aid, only half of which has been received.

Clinton’s chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, said Tuesday that even though 28 of 29 government ministries were hurt by the earthquake, which left 1.3 million living in camps, a newly formed Haitian development authority should be turned over to the government within 18 months.

Haiti’s government released a 50-page reconstruction plan that calls for 350 million in direct budget support, 35 million to begin construction of new international airports in Cap-Haitien and Les Cayes and 70 million to refurbish the Port- au-Prince port.

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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