1,100 Europeans still missing after Haiti quake

More than 1,100 EU citizens are among the missing in the Haiti earthquake, the European Commission said today.

More than 1,100 EU citizens are among the missing in the Haiti earthquake, the European Commission said today.

More than 1,240 have been accounted for, 28 have died, nine are logged as injured and nearly 800 EU nationals have been evacuated from the region, according to figures released in Brussels.

But a minimum of 1,156 and possibly as many as 1,189 are unaccounted for - including Haitians with double nationality and three staff at the EU’s “embassy” in Haiti.

The numbers were released as EU ministers pledged €92m to add to contributions from the central EU budget of €30m in emergency relief and a further €100m announced today for “short term recovery and rehabilitation and re-establishing the (Haiti) government’s capacity to operate effectively.”

The Commission also says it will make available €200m in “reconstruction-phase” aid, making a total financial commitment from the EU of €422m.

Further national contributions may be pledged at more EU talks next week, said officials.

The EU effort so far also includes 11 search and rescue teams, five field hospitals and staff, 14 medical teams and “initial assessment teams” – in all more than 650 specialists on the ground.

The EU is now calling for an international conference “after post emergency needs have been fully assessed”, to consider long-term global co-ordination of the reconstruction of devastated areas.

“The EU and its member states stand ready to provide additional assistance on the basis of the ongoing needs assessment, including military and civil assets, as appropriate“ said a statement after two hours of talks in Brussels between EU development ministers.

Officials said everything would be done in conjunction with the UN, and EU foreign affairs supremo, Baroness Cathy Ashton, who chaired the Brussels, will visit New York for talks at UN headquarters on Wednesday, just as EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Karel De Gucht is due in Haiti.

The Commission said the main challenges now for the international aid effort included the limited capacity of Haiti’s airport, bottlenecks in the aid distribution chain, the volume of corpses and the deteriorating security situation.

Today’s statement from EU ministers emphasised the need for “adequate security on the ground to ensure safe and unhindered access of aid deliveries.”, although no decisions were taken about sending a combined EU police force to help tackle unrest – something Mr De Gucht will assess during his Wednesday visit for consultations with UN leaders on the ground.

Today’s figures of overall casualties include a Haitian government estimate of as many of 200,000 dead, 250,000 injured and 1,500,000 homeless. About 70,000 bodies have already been buried.

The total number of people in Haiti “affected in some way” by the earthquake, is estimated at around three million.

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