Rescue and Aid

Int'l community intensifies relief efforts in Haiti

Updated: 2010-01-17 17:21
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BEIJING: The world community has been intensifying relief efforts in Haiti in the past two days after a devastating quake hit the Caribbean nation on Tuesday.

Int'l community intensifies relief efforts in Haiti
Bolivian UN peacekeepers distribute water and meals to the residents in Cite Soleil January 16, 2010. Haitian earthquake survivors fought over food and water and others fled their wrecked capital on Saturday as the United States rolled out what US President Barack Obama called one of its largest relief efforts ever.[Agencies]
Int'l community intensifies relief efforts in Haiti

On Saturday, a Boeing-747 jumbo jet carrying 90 tons of emergency humanitarian supplies provided by China took off from the Beijing Capital International Airport to quake-ravaged Haiti.

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The 13 million yuan ($1.9 million) worth of quake relief items included tents, stretchers, food, medicines, clothing and water purification equipment.

The aid is part of a relief package worth 30 million yuan ($4.41) the Chinese government announced Friday.

On Saturday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was "deeply saddened to confirm the tragic death" of his special representative to Haiti Hedi Annabi, and Annabi's deputy Luiz Carlos da Costa.

"In every sense of the word, they gave their lives for peace," Ban said in a statement.

Annabi "was a true citizen of the world. The United Nations was his life and he ranked amongst its most dedicated and committed sons," Ban said. "He was passionate about its mission and its people."

Annabi, a Tunisian national who was head of the UN Stability Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), was found dead in debris in the quake-destroyed UN headquarters in Port-au-Prince by Chinese rescuers.

US President Barack Obama invited two of his predecessors, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, to help raise relief funds for Haiti.

"I am pleased that President George W. Bush and President (Bill) Clinton have agreed to lead a major fund-raising effort for relief," Obama said in a joint appearance with his two predecessors after a meeting in the White House.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Haiti to beef up US assistance to the country.

"I am confident that this Caribbean nation can come back better and stronger after the joint reconstruction work," Clinton told media at the airport, after meeting Haitian President Rene Preval.

Meanwhile, Arab League Secretary-general Amr Moussa and African Union Commission chairperson Jean Ping called on Arab and African countries to provide humanitarian aid to victims of the Haiti quake.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will send a plane to the Dominican Republic within days to deliver the first batch of humanitarian aid to Haiti.

A team from the UAE Red Crescent Authority (RCA) will also leave for the Dominican Republic to coordinate and oversee field relief operations.

Canada will send more than 1,000 soldiers to Haiti next week for quake relief.

To help Haitians reunite with their family members in Canada, the Canadian government plans to ease immigration rules to allow Haitian refugees to enter Canada more quickly. And those in Canada who have been required to return to Haiti will be granted an extension.

Bangladesh will send a 30-member medical team to Haiti, including 20 physicians and 10 health technicians and assistant workers.

Two Moroccan military planes carrying about 24 tons of medical supplies took off from a military base near Rabat.

The aid was part of a 1-million-dollar emergency humanitarian aid granted by the Moroccan government.

The latest death toll given by Haitian authorities is about 50,000.