The United Nations launched a new appeal for nearly $ 1.5 billion to help the 3 million Haitians affected by last month’s devastating earthquake.

The appeal, covering needs in 2010, is more than double the UN’s initial request on Jan 15 for $ 562 million to help quake victims for six months.

UN Secretary—General Ban Ki—moon and his special envoy for Haiti, former US President Bill Clinton, were launching the $ 1.44 billion appeal at a meeting with diplomats from many of the 191 other UN member states.

Donors have already pledged $ 673 million, Stephanie Bunker, spokeswoman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said yesterday.

That means USD 768 million is still needed, Bunker said.

According to the UN, more than 1.2 million Haitians need emergency shelter and urgent sanitation facilities and at least 2 million need food. Help is also needed for families and communities that have taken in quake victims who fled Port—au—Prince and other badly affected cities.

The new appeal also seeks funds to revive agriculture, provide emergency telecommunications, manage camps for the displaced, improve nutrition and start early recovery programs including cash—for—work.

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