Tags: Haiti | quake | UN | envoy

U.N. Envoy: Haiti Needs Huge Recovery Fund

Thursday, 28 Jan 2010 10:13 PM


WASHINGTON — More than 75 percent of Haiti's capital will have to be rebuilt, after the devastating earthquake that leveled swathes of the city, the UN deputy special envoy for the stricken Caribbean nation said Thursday.

Envoy Paul Farmer revealed the extent of the damage to Port-au-Prince following the 7.0-magnitude quake on January 12 as he addressed the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee in Washington.

Asked by the panel's chairman Senator John Kerry how much of the city needed rebuilding, Farmer replied: "The majority of it. Seventy-five percent."

Farmer called for a "recovery fund" to finance the reconstruction of the shattered country, and said the monies could be maintained by the Inter-American Development Bank or similar institution.

"We need to commit funds and also to disburse them," the envoy said.

"Such an account could be managed... with partners such as the UN and, of course, Haitian leadership... to design and implement recovery plans coordinated at central and local levels," he said, adding that the effort also would include the United States and other leading nations.

The extent of the crisis is so "massive," he said, "that we need the international A-team on this, caseworking with the Haitian people."

Kerry, meanwhile, said the disaster affords the international community the chance to help Haiti overcome decades of poverty and political turmoil.

"The best chance for Haiti... in terms of the problems in the last 25 years is to take this moment and create the kind of joint rebuild, international cooperative effort that provides a sustainable ending," Kerry said.

"This is a chance for Haitians to re-imagine their country as they rebuild it."

Haiti's President Rene Preval said Wednesday that the quake had killed 170,000 people and left more than a million homeless.

Meanwhile, former US President Bill Clinton, attending a gathering of world economic and business leaders in Davos, Switzerland made an emotional appeal that they do all they can to help Haiti "rise from the ashes."

"They need to be helped through this hideous natural disaster," said Clinton, a UN special envoy on Haiti, a country he said had been "punished by either being ignored or abused.

"They've got the best chance they've ever had in my lifetime .. to escape that past and we have the best chance we've ever had to be a part of that," he said as he launched an initiative at the World Economic Forum to get private sector help for the stricken nation.

Clinton told the business leaders they should help "empower people who are as gifted and hard working and creative, under unbelievably adverse circumstances, as any I've ever seen."

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

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Thursday, 28 Jan 2010 10:13 PM
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