Billions promised for Haiti recovery

The U.S. and European Union have pledged
a combined $2.75 billion in aid for rebuilding Haiti following the 12 January earthquake
that killed about 300,000 people and devastated the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
announced $1.15 billion in U.S. 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 to the
pledge tally, Spain offered $356 million and France said it would give $243.5
million toward the $3.9 billion sought to begin reconstruction in the next 18
months.

France also will cancel $76 million
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.

Haitian President Rene Preval
called for a “new society” and creation of a UN emergency response force to
speed delivery of aid following natural disasters.

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 in emergency aid, only half of which has been received.

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.

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