Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Billions earmarked for Haiti rebuilding projects

News that an international commission announced $1.6 billion in projects to help build new homes, improve agriculture and rebuild schools in earthquake-ravaged Haiti is welcome, albeit late, news. The quake that killed 300,000 and reduced cities to rubble in the poor Caribbean nation was in January, after all, and hurricane season is approaching. The news was announced Tuesday during a meeting of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission in the nearly destroyed capital city of Port-au-Prince, according to the Reuters international news service. The commission, chaired by Haiti's prime minister, Jean-Max Bellerive, and former U.S. President Bill Clinton is responsible for distributing more than $5 billion dollars in international aid pledged to the relief effort in the next two years. Foreign governments and nongovernmental aid agencies pledged a total of nearly $10 billion for Haiti's recovery in March, Reuters said. Projects approved Tuesday included $200 million to create 50,000 jobs in agriculture and increase production, a United Nations rubble-removal program and construction of a teaching hospital to train new doctors and nurses. More than 1.5 million people are still living in refugee camps in Port-au-Prince, Reuters said.

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