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Haiti earthquake – EU coordinates aid - 21/01/2010

Over €130 million is being channelled into relief and rehabilitation efforts. More will follow.

An earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale struck Haiti on 12 January. Within hours of the disaster the EU provided €3 million for immediate relief activities. An additional €27 million has since been released, along with €100 million for early rehabilitation and reconstruction. Half of this is new money, and half will be redirected from funds already set aside for Haiti.

Some €200 million more will be available for longer term rehabilitation. All figures could rise if assessments show more money is needed. These contributions are in addition to the €92 million already provided by individual EU countries.

The figures were announced following an emergency meeting in Brussels, where the deployment of European soldiers to Haiti was also on the table. No decision has yet been taken. An international conference on support for Haiti is also likely in the coming weeks. It will assess how to convert the international desire to help into practical solutions, said the EU high representative for foreign affairs, Catherine Ashton.

EU countries reacted swiftly by activating its civil protection mechanism, enabling the commission to coordinate the assistance that each is providing. Search and rescue teams from the EU have arrived and are active on the ground. Essential material such as water purification, field hospitals and tents has also arrived.

A rapid damage assessment carried out by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre has provided valuable information for the planning of relief and assistance measures, and will continue to do so for subsequent reconstruction efforts.

European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Karel De Gucht travelled to Port-au-Prince this week for a first-hand view of the situation. He met with Haitian authorities, the UN and main aid representatives on the spot to discuss coordination of the overall relief effort.

The death toll is currently estimated at 200 000. Some 250 000 people are in urgent need of assistance and a staggering 3 million have been affected.

More on EU humanitarian aid for Haiti

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