EU: €400 million aid to Haiti

19th January 2010, Comments 0 comments

The European Union institutions and the 27 member states have offered more than €400 million in emergency and longer-term assistance to Haiti following the earthquake there.

EU Aid and Development Commissioner Karel De Gucht said after a meeting of the 27-country bloc's Development Ministers the aid would include €137 million for short-term needs and at least 200 million for the medium- and longer-term.

In Brussels the EU Ministers of Developmental Cooperation from the 27 EU member states met to coordinate EU and member state efforts to help Haiti after last week's devastating earthquake.

The aid will include €137 million for short-term needs and at least 200 million for the medium and longer-term. An additional €92 million is to be provided by EU member states.

The ministers also called for an international conference on reconstruction plans when emergency needs have been addressed and offered to send paramilitary police to protect the aid effort.

The earthquake last Tuesday is thought to have killed at least 100,000 people, or more according to some sources. Although the offer of aid to Haiti has come massively from countries all over the world, because the infrastructure in the country is gone, the effort has been rather chaotic. Food and medicines are only now reaching those in need because of the logistical logjams.

EU Aid and Development Commissioner Karel De Gucht will go to Haiti on Wednesday to further assess aid needs and logistical problems.

A statement approved by ministers underlined the need for a "rapid, coordinated response" to the disaster and for adequate security to ensure safe and unhindered access to aid.

The shorter-term aid is reportedly intended to provide immediate assistance and to avoid "a second-wave disaster" caused by disease and security problems.

EU Foreign Policy Chief, Catherine Ashton said at the emergency meeting on Monday, "We have taken swift action."

In addition to the aid package announced, the EU will also move towards sending some 150 people to be part of the police force to beef up security in Haiti.

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