Alejandro Wolff: Haiti rebuilding is a ‘long term’ commitment

The US said Thursday its assistance to Haiti will be for the "long term" because of the massive destruction and cost of lives inflicted by the earthquake on the Haitian people.

Envoys from the US, Brazil, Canada, France, Haiti and Uruguay met at UN headquarters in New York to discuss their joint efforts to aid the Caribbean nation while expecting that more countries will join them.
"We are a neighbour and friend of Haiti," said US Ambassador Alejandro Wolff. "We are working closely with that government, coordinating with international partners and of course with the UN."
"We are there for the long term, this is not something that will be resolved quickly and easily," he said.
Wolff said the US has provided $165 million to the humanitarian efforts, which included $90 million pledged to the flash appeal for $550 million launched by the UN last week to bring emergency relief supplies to quake victims.
UN Undersecretary General John Holmes, the humanitarian coordinator who is leading the group to organise and coordinate the global relief, said the works in Haiti have been going on "extremely well", despite some frustrating problems regarding the logistics and the chaos after the magnitude-7 earthquake Jan 12.
"This is massive international effort and will continue to be a massive international effort," Holmes told reporters. "We are working positively and cooperatively together."
The countries already in the group are major contributors to the relief campaign. Canada has contributed $135 million, France has sent 1,000 relief workers and is flying supplies from islands in the Caribbean, and Brazil is contributing the bulk of troops to the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti.
The UN welcomed on Thursday the opening of a humanitarian corridor, with military protection, to bring in relief supplies from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic to Port-au-Prince.
"This will allow the speedy delivery of aid to the areas most affected by the earthquake," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said in New York.
He said the government of Haitian President Rene Preval has accepted a proposal from the Dominican Republic for 150 Dominican military troops to patrol the corridor in cooperation with a contingent of Peruvian troops from MINUSTAH.
The Dominican Republic has become the staging area for many of the arrivals of international relief supplies for Haitian earthquake victims.
Some sea access to the destroyed Port-au-Prince has also become functional, as the first ship entered the half-restored Haitian harbour Thursday carrying 123 metric tonnes of supplies, Nesirky said.
Nesirky said the number of UN personnel killed by the earthquake stood at 61 Thursday. The number of unaccounted for has dropped to below 180, from about 500 Monday, because the cell phone network has been revived allowing more contacts among UN personnel.

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