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Jumble of makeshift shelters in Haiti © European Union - Photo by ECHO/Susana Perez Diaz

Commission calls for €90m more in aid for the quake-stricken country, to be drawn from EU emergency funds.

More than a month after the earthquake devastated their country, nearly one million Haitians are living in tents and makeshift shelters – a growing concern with the hurricane and rainy season approaching.

“Giving people a roof over their heads is a key priority,” said Kristalina Georgieva, the EU’s new humanitarian affairs chief. “And it needs to be a roof that can withstand the Caribbean storms.”

The commission has asked parliament and the council to approve drawing €90m from EU emergency funds to provide shelter and health care, another urgent need as many survivors are struggling to recover from severe injuries.

If approved, the new cash injection would bring the total EU aid package for Haiti to €609m. That includes contributions from individual EU countries, which continue to rise. Earlier this week, France pledged €230m in fresh aid for Haiti.

The EU is also sending 300 military police to Haiti to help build shelters. France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands are contributing to the force.

The deployment was announced last month in response to a request from the UN. Originally their mission was to help UN forces maintain order but the country has remained largely calm.

Hundreds of EU experts are in Haiti, coordinating contributions of food, medicine, blankets, tents, water and fuel. The aid is being distributed through the United Nations and other EU partner organisations. It has enabled the Finnish Red Cross, for example, to open a mobile medical clinic and the British aid group Oxfam to keep 15 000 Haitians supplied with clean water every day.

Development commissioner Andris Piebalgs says he will visit Haiti soon. His priority will be to help get the government fully operational.

Last month’s earthquake killed more than 200 000 people and caused billions of euros in damage. A donors conference is scheduled to take place in New York in March.

More on EU humanitarian aid for Haiti

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