Global General

Beijing pledges more aid to Haiti

By Wu Chong (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-04-02 07:42
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NEW YORK - China pledged an additional 10 million yuan ($1.47 million) in aid for Haiti at the International Donors Conference towards a New Future for Haiti here on Wednesday.

Haiti had appealed for $3.8 billion in donations for the next 18 months, but received almost $10 billion in pledges over the next three years, including $5.3 billion for reconstruction in the next two years, according to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

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China joined almost 50 other countries in pledging aid for the Caribbean nation, which was devastated by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake in January. More than 100,000 people were killed and more than 1 million left homeless.

"Despite the geographical distance between China and Haiti and despite the fact that the two countries have no diplomatic relations, the Chinese people are deeply moved by the sufferings of the Haitian people and the Chinese government has provided timely emergency assistance in various forms to the country," said Li Baodong, the Chinese ambassador to the UN.

China will provide emergency assistance and will also be responsible for shipment of supplies to Port-au-Prince, Li said.

"Now it comes down to implementation, delivery on our promises, transparency and accountability. We must make sure Haiti gets the money it needs. And we must guarantee that it is well coordinated and well spent," Ban told the press after the conference.

All pledges will be published online and tracked under the supervision of former US President Bill Clinton and the United Nations Development Program. The World Bank will be responsible for implementing a multi-donor trust fund to manage donations.

The donors' conference was jointly initiated by the United States, Canada, Brazil, France, Spain and the European Union.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged the conference to look beyond financial assistance to Haiti. "We have to pledge to do better ourselves" at effective post-disaster reconstruction, she said, adding that the goal is now to empower the Haitian people.

She then announced a pledge of $1.5 billion by the US over the next two years. It was the second largest single pledge at the conference, after the European Union, which promised 1.235 billion euros ($1.67 billion).

The president of Haiti, Rene Preval, attended the conference and called for international aid in all areas including education, medical care and economic rebuilding. He especially solicited international investment in Haiti's private sector so as to help the country develop.

China Daily