Rescue and Aid

Group of Rio offers additional $25m for Haiti

Updated: 2010-02-23 14:20
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PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico: Leaders from the Group of Rio and Caribbean Community nations have promised to offer another US$25 million in aid for Haiti, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said on Monday.

The commitment was made via the Inter-American Development Bank and the Andean Development Corporation, Calderon told a press conference after the Group of Rio summit opened here on Monday.

The summit brings together leaders from the 24-nation Group of Rio and the 15-member Caribbean Community (Caricom).

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"Mexico also aims to send 50,000 tents and US$50 million in the short term," Calderon told reporters. "The most urgent thing right now is housing. There are more than a million people sleeping in the streets," he said.

The president added that Mexico had now sent a total of 16,000 tons of aid to Haiti, which was struck by an earthquake on January 12. Some 300,000 people may have been killed in the devastating quake.

Calderon said the summit had discussed plans to rebuild Haiti together with Haitian President Rene Preval.

Haiti is a member of both the Rio and Caricom group.

The Mexican leader also said that the ongoing Group of Rio summit had discussed the issue of the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands. The disputed lands are claimed both by Argentina and Britain, known to Argentineans as the Malvinas,  and to the British as the Falkland islands.

A British oil firm, Desire Petroleum, began drilling there earlier on Monday, angering Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Other topics on the agenda of the two-day summit include climate change and the fight against the global economic crisis.