India has handed over $ 5 million to Haiti’s UN envoy Leo Merores, as aid for the victims of the devastating earthquake that hit the Caribbean nation in January.
India is now considering the second phase of its response that will be geared towards reconstruction and rebuilding of Haiti’s infrastructure and economy.
The ambassadors of both the countries discussed areas in which India would be able to best serve Haiti’s need in the coming months.
India’s envoy to the UN, Hardeep Singh Puri told PTI that New Delhi was “seriously studying” the situation and was considering providing the “Jaipur foot and low cost housing among other things.”
Describing the international outpouring of aid as overwhelming Merores said that Haiti “deeply appreciated the very generous contribution of the government (Indian).”
“It will go into the emergency fund account to help the earthquake victims but at this point I cannot say precisely what will be done with it,” he told PTI.
Responding to concerns that has been expressed about tracking the aid, Merores, noted that his government “in due time would set up an ad hoc committee” to show how the money was spent. The Indian side also noted that it would perform due diligence.
Several countries have made pledges to Haiti through different mechanisms bilaterally, through UN agencies or the UN flash appeal. China has contributed four million dollars in aid while Saudi Arabia has contributed $ 50 million.
The UN launched a flash appeal of $ 575 million out of which, UN’s emergency relief coordinator, John Holmes, noted that 80 per cent of it had been met and overall the world body through its different agencies had received $ 2 billion.
News agencies on the ground reported that the Haitian Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive announced that the death toll had reached 200,000 while at the UN headquarters, the acting UN chief in Haiti, Edmond Mulet confirmed the death of 92 UN personnel while 7 are still missing.
There are presently 160 Indian peacekeepers in Haiti and another 140 of the Assam Rifles Paramilitary force are expected to join them soon.