Minister to visit quake-hit Haiti

Minister to visit quake-hit Haiti

Overseas development minister Peter Power will this week get first-hand accounts of Irish efforts to rebuild earthquake-hit Haiti, the Government said today.

Six months after the disaster, the minister will spend two days visiting Irish Aid projects and receive security and humanitarian briefings from UN and World Bank officials.

"The scale of the challenge is enormous: the damage resulting from the earthquake is estimated at $7.9bn - more than Haiti's entire economic output last year," Mr Power said.

Ireland pledged €13m over three years to rebuilding and the humanitarian aid effort in Haiti.

Mr Power will also hold talks with representatives from Irish aid agencies and Irish Aid's Rapid Response Corps, five of whom are working on the ground in Haiti.

"I am keen to see first-hand the life-saving impact of the funding and supplies which the Irish Government provided to the people of Haiti," Mr Power said.

"The Government moved swiftly following the earthquake to airlift 130 tonnes of emergency humanitarian supplies, which were distributed by Concern, Goal and Trócaire on the ground. These provided desperately needed shelter and sanitation equipment to 12,000 vulnerable families."

More than €4m in emergency funding and humanitarian supplies was already handed over to aid agencies including Concern, Goal, Trócaire and World Vision.

Two of the projects the minister will visit include Concern's scheme employing vulnerable locals to provide clean water and sanitation to homeless families and a GOAL-run cash-for-work programme paying Haitians who work clearing rubble and other waste.

The Haitian government put in place an action plan to rebuild the country's shattered infrastructure and strengthen security, justice and planning systems, reduce the country's vulnerability to natural disasters and provide healthcare, education and housing.

About 1.5 million people were left homeless following the earthquake, with the vast majority left sheltering in tents since January.

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