Dozens of nations and organizations have pledged almost $10 billion in immediate and long-term aid to help Haiti recover from the recent devastating earthquake.
The promise came just hours after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened a day-long donors’ conference at the United Nations by calling for the wholesale rebuilding of the country.
Of that amount more than $5 billion has been pledged for the next 18 months, well above the $3.9 billion sought for that period.
“Today, the international community has come together, dramatically, in solidarity with Haiti and its people,” Ban said in a closing news conference at UN Headquarters in New York.
“Today, the United Nations are united for Haiti,” he said. “Today, we have mobilized to give Haiti and its people what they need most: hope for a new future. We have made a good start, we need now to deliver.”
Haiti’s President René Préval expressed his thanks on behalf of his 9 million countrymen. “The international community has done their part,” he said. “Now it is up to the Haitian people to do theirs.”
Opening the conference earlier, Ban appealed to donors to provide $11.5 million over the next 10 years to help the Caribbean nation recover and rebuild after the 12 January quake.
“What we envision, today, is wholesale national renewal… a sweeping exercise in national-building on a scale and scope not seen in generations,” he told delegates from more than 130 nations attending the high-level meeting.
Ban said reconstruction work must move in tandem with emergency relief and urged donors to provide further support to the revised humanitarian appeal for Haiti. That appeal is calling for $1.4 billion, but is currently only 50 per cent funded.
Préval, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and UN Special Envoy for Haiti Bill Clinton co-hosted the conference, entitled Towards a New Future in Haiti.
The conference was co-chaired by Brazil, Canada, the European Union, France, and Spain as leading donors to Haiti, which was already the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere before the disaster.
The 12 January quake struck close to the capital, Port-au-Prince, and resulted in the deaths of more than 200,000 people. It also left one third of the country’s 9 million people in need of aid.
The total value of damage and losses sustained has been calculated at approximately $7 billion.