UN, relief bodies, urge world keep up Haiti aid

GENEVA (Reuters) – United Nations and other aid agencies appealed to the world yesterday not to forget earthquake-devastated Haiti and to keep financial support coming in for its long-term reconstruction.

The call came at a news conference to mark six months since the quake hit the poverty-wracked Caribbean republic and killed about 225,000 people, all but destroyed its capital Port-au-Prince and left 1.5 million people homeless.

“We hope that donors continue efforts to carry out the pledges they have made on financing relief and reconstruction, despite the current world economic problems,” said Elisabeth Byrs of the UN humanitarian coordination body OCHA.

The committee overseeing coordination of the aid effort says only 62 percent of the funding sought in an emergency UN appeal in February has yet been received.

“There is some lagtime now in the funds pledged reaching Haiti,” said Adam Rogers of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) while the refugee agency UNHCR said there was an urgent need for long-term housing to be built.

The original appeal was for $1.4 billion but that was revised upwards in May to $1.5 billion as the scale of the disaster and the needs of Haiti’s nearly 10 million people became more apparent.

As of now, only $907 million have been received, says an advance copy of the report seen by Reuters.

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