France sends plane for adopted Haitian children

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France sent an aircraft to Haiti Tuesday to fetch a group of Haitian children adopted by French families, almost a year after an earthquake devastated the island, the French government said.

A government-chartered plane took off from Paris, carrying adoptive parents to the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince where the children were to be collected and brought to France on Wednesday, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

A second flight was due to make the same trip on Thursday. A total of 318 adopted Haitian children are included in a special programme to bring them to France after disruptions caused by the earthquake.

They were all in the process of being adopted when the devastating quake struck on January 12 and were given special consular documents allowing them to come to France, despite not yet having French passports.

France took a leading role in the international aid effort after the earthquake, but associations representing adoptive families accused the government of being slow to act for the adopted children.

Haiti has been stricken by a cholera outbreak in recent months. The French statement said doctors and a crisis management team would also travel to Port-au-Prince to accompany the adopted children.

© 2010 AFP

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