Wed | Oct 20, 2021

US pledges more aid to earthquake victims in Haiti

Published:Friday | August 27, 2021 | 10:11 AM
Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry speaks during a joint press conference with USAID and SOUTHCOM at the international airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, August 26, 2021, weeks after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake. At left are USAID Administrator Samantha Power and SOUTHCOM Commander Admiral Faller. (AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — The United States pledged another $32 million in aid to the victims of Haiti's 7.2-magnitude earthquake Thursday, as the country's interim prime minister defended his government's response.

US Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power said the US government had learned from the 2010 Haiti earthquake and said USAID was coordinating closely with the government of Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

“This $32 million of funding will provide additional shelter, health, food, water and other urgent life-saving assistance,” with the input and guidance of the Haitian government, Power said.

“Perhaps the most important lesson (from 2010) is that no development agency and no army or diplomatic corps can just import a perfect humanitarian response from afar. You need local expertise and local leadership to reach communities in need.”

The August 14 earthquake killed more than 2,200 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless on Haiti's southwestern peninsula. Power and Henry said providing emergency shelter was the top priority nearly two weeks after the temblor.

Speaking together at the capital's international airport as US military aircraft ferried people and supplies into the country, Henry said his government was coordinating the relief response despite the turmoil created by the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse on July 7.

“The Haitian government is facing a lot of challenges,” Henry said. “We have political difficulties, we have economic difficulties, but despite all these issues, we are addressing the challenges of the earthquake.”

He rejected the assertion that the government was in chaos. “The Haitian government is present,” he said. Far more visible since the earthquake have been nongovernmental organisations and US government agencies in the earthquake zone.

For days the relief effort was hampered by the inability to safely move relief supplies and quake victims through a gang-controlled area south of the capital.

The government has pledged more security.

Moïse was killed by a team of mercenaries who breached the presidential residence.

The investigation into his murder is still underway.

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