EU pledges 15 mln dollars to help Haiti handle natural disasters

13:50, March 30, 2011      

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The European Union (EU) said Tuesday it will offer Haiti 15 million U.S. dollars to the help strengthen the country's natural disaster and emergency response.

The money is expected to be available before the 2011 hurricane season starts.

The offer was announced in Port-au-Prince, capital of Haiti, after the signing of an agreement between Haiti's Interior Minister Paul Antoine Bien-Aime and Lut Faber-Gossens, head of an EU delegation.

"Haiti will get an urgent operative center to deal with the immediate response to natural disasters with equipment and material needed by specialized emergency teams," the EU envoy told local radio Metropole.

The center will help improve coordination of relief work by fire departments and forces from civil protection units, he said.

Faber-Gossens said the funds are a part of more than 50 million dollars the EU plans to donate to Haiti in its ongoing reconstruction efforts after last year's devastating 7.3-magnitude earthquake which killed at least 250,000 people and left an estimated 800,000 homeless.

Reconstruction in Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, has been made more difficult by an ongoing cholera epidemic which has caused nearly 4,800 deaths since it broke out last October.

Source: Xinhua
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