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UN seeks 1.5 billion dollars in revised quake relief for Haiti

Other News Materials 19 February 2010 02:45 (UTC +04:00)
The United Nations on Thursday nearly tripled its original appeal for humanitarian assistance in Haiti, calling for a total of 1.5 billion dollars to help 3 million Haitians affected by the devastating January earthquake.
UN seeks 1.5 billion dollars in revised quake relief for Haiti

The United Nations on Thursday nearly tripled its original appeal for humanitarian assistance in Haiti, calling for a total of 1.5 billion dollars to help 3 million Haitians affected by the devastating January earthquake, dpa reported.

The 1.5 billion dollars would include the earlier flash appeal of 577 million dollars issued immediately after the magnitude-7 earthquake that hit Port-au-Prince on January 12, killing more than 230,000 people and destroying large parts of the city.

The UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA) at UN headquarters in New York said the new amount would help support affected Haitians for the rest of 2010. Most of the previous 577- million-dollar appeal had been pledged or met by donors.

John Holmes, the UN undersecretary general of OCHA, said, "We have to be engaged in Haiti for the long haul, for life-saving relief as well as reconstruction."

The UN said 1.2 million of the 3 million people affected are in need of urgent shelter, sanitation and hygiene. The Haitian community also needs help because it has been hosting and supporting the homeless who fled the worst-hit cities.

"The emergency phase of humanitarian relief operations will have to continue for many months," OCHA said in the revised appeal. "While improvements have been made in the ability to reach those in need with food, water, healthcare and shelter, humanitarian needs in Haiti remain great."

OCHA said the 1.5 billion dollars will support Haiti's agriculture, coordination and management of refugee camps, education, emergency shelter and non-food items. Other areas in need of cash are telecommunications, food aid, health, logistics, water, sanitation and hygiene.

OCHA said the size of the appeal reflected the magnitude of the natural disaster that hit Haiti. In past disasters, the UN sought more than 1.4 billion dollars to assist Asian countries after the 2005 tsunami and 1.9 billion dollars for Sudan in 2010.

The amount being sought by the UN for relief assistance in Haiti will be dwarfed by estimates for reconstruction in the Caribbean nation.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) said this week that the reconstruction could cost nearly 14 billion dollars, making it one of the most expensive disasters in modern history.

The preliminary estimate to rebuild roads, schools, hospitals and other critical infrastructure in Haiti reflected "the enormity of the challenge that lies ahead in reconstructing Haiti," according to the authors of an IDB study released in Washington.

The study offered a low estimate of 8.1 billion dollars, but said the 13.9-billion-dollar estimate was "within statistical error."

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