EU envoy visits Haiti, defends lateness of trip
Port-au-Prince: European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton visited quake-hit Haiti with pledges of long-term aid and sought to defend her delay in making the trip.
"I wouldn`t have been helpful, I would have got in the way," Ashton said as she visited an Irish charity`s project in one of Port-au-Prince`s innumerable makeshift camps set up after the January 12 quake.
She said Europe`s initial response had been to send emergency relief and dispatch the EU commissioner for humanitarian aid, Kristalina Georgieva, who also joined her in Haiti on Wednesday.
"I came now because my job is to build for the long-term. And I`m sure that was the right thing to do. And actually the people I met here today told me it was the right thing to do," she said, cradling a Haitian infant on her lap.
She was speaking in a tent serving as a breast-feeding sanctuary set up by Concern Worldwide, an Irish charity funded through donations and Irish and British subsidies.
"Children are children everywhere, and we have to build this country for their future. It`s one of the things that all the foreign ministers across Europe said to me: we have to think about the children."
Ashton, who was criticised in Brussels for not heading out to Haiti soon after the 7.0-magnitude quake, met with Haitian President Rene Preval and Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive to discuss the country`s needs.
While those needs were still being defined, the EU envoy said that "clearing rubble, helping to rebuild infrastructure, roads and schools would be really, really important."
Bellerive stressed at a joint press conference with Ashton and Georgieva that it was "extremely important that the humanitarian roll-out be discussed in detail," but that things were still in a "state of preparation".
During her talks with Haiti`s leaders, Ashton emphasised the EUR 100 million (USD 135 million) that the European Union released on Tuesday to help Haiti tackle its challenges.
She said the latest funds took direct EU aid to more than EUR 120 million, out of a tranche of more than EUR 300 million committed by Brussels to help Haiti.
National donations by individual EU states raised total European aid to Haiti to EUR 609 million (USD 828 million).
Haiti`s quake killed more than 222,000 people and left 1.3 million people homeless in and around the capital Port-au-Prince.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- I eat beef, can somebody stop me?: Kiren Rijiju hits back at Naqvi
- Delhi: Visually impaired boy scores 91.4% in CBSE 12th Board exams
- MP: 14-year-old boy works as bonded labour since 2009
- UP: Man chops off wife's nose, hair for dowry
- Zee Media Exclusive: The plight of yoga expert Tejaswi Sharma
- Heat ave continues in India, death toll climbs to over 1,400
- Megastar Amitabh Bachchan slapped with Rs 1 crore notice
- Woman denied flat in Mumbai for being a Muslim
- 4 Indians in Forbes' 100 most powerful women list
- Kenyan lawyer offers to marry Barack Obama's daughter Malia
- Gujjar stir: HC asks Rajasthan govt to clear rail track, roads
- Maggi likely to face ban in India!
- Gujjar stir: HC asks Rajasthan govt to clear rail track, roads- Part II
- AIB: The 'Third Gender's right to dignity'
- Salman Khan accident files burnt in Mantralaya fire
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 to be announced today
- Check mahresult.nic.in for MSBSHSE Maharashtra Class 12 HSC Result 2015
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 (cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in) postponed?
- Maharashtra MSBSHSE HSC Result 2015 on mahresult.nic.in
- Check cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in for CBSE Class 10 Result 2015
- First look: Salman Khan steals thunder in `Bajrangi Bhaijaan`
- I was misquoted, says Kiren Rijiju on 'beef' remark
- CBSE Class 10 (Class X Board) Result 2015 on cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in at 2 pm
- mahresult.nic.in updated with MSBSHSE Maharashtra HSC Class XII Result 2015
- Manmohan Singh defends himself on 2G charge, slams Modi govt for 'carbon copy' schemes
- Sonia Gandhi 'unconstitutional authority' during UPA: PM Narendra Modi
- Hours after attacking NDA govt, Manmohan Singh meets PM Narendra Modi
- Reservation stir: Five percent job quota to Gujjars unlikely, hints Rajasthan govt
- PMO website revamped, now send e-mail to PM Modi directly
- Check cbseresults.nic.in, cbse.in for CBSE Class 10 X Board Result at 2 pm