24 March 2010
The first British minister to visit Haiti since the devastating earthquake in January has seen how UKaid is helping hundreds of thousands of Haitian people.
International Development Minister Mike Foster has also seen how experts from the UK Government are helping rebuild the prison system – after one of the biggest jailbreaks in history.
Mr. Foster also met with the United States’ Special Envoy to Haiti, former President Bill Clinton to discuss the ongoing relief effort.
He also met Mia Charlet, aged two, who was rescued from the rubble of a local kindergarten by the UK Search and Rescue team.
Mike Foster was in the capital Port-au-Prince to see how £20 million Department for International Development funding is helping more than 350,000 people with water, shelter, food, medical care and other essential supplies.
He also met UN chiefs and saw aid funded by the £90 million in public donations from the British people and senior Haitian ministers to discuss the future of the country and its reconstruction.
The UK Government is funding $50 through the World Bank, European Commission and Inter-American Development Bank to help with the reconstruction process.
Mike Foster said:
"Seeing the scale of the devastation really brings home how vital the UK’s aid effort has been. The British public have been amazingly generous.
"People can be very proud that their support has helped hundreds of thousands of people, and will continue to provide vital shelter as the rainy season begins.
"Meeting baby Mia and her mother highlighted the ongoing needs of the Haitian people – it will be many years before their country is rebuilt.
"The UK has been a vital part of the international effort. We will continue to provide support and expertise, in terms of the massive humanitarian effort, and also bringing specialist knowledge – for example in the restoration of the prison system.
"Bill Clinton as special envoy and former president has a long history of working with Haiti and a clear vision for its future. We talked about the economic regeneration taken forward by the Haitian people supported by the international community.
"With the leadership and advocacy of the type demonstrated by President Clinton, the project to rebuild Haiti is achievable."
During the day long trip the DFID minister visited:
Carolyn Miller, UK medical aid agency Merlin's Chief Executive, said: "The British public should be proud of our government's commitment to this impoverished and shattered country.
"The DFID funding Merlin received has been pivotal to the life saving health and surgical care our teams are providing - benefiting over 4,500 people already. Merlin will stay on in Haiti as long as we are needed."
The UK Government’s £20 million emergency aid programme for the earthquake victims in Haiti has already helped more than 350,000 people get food, clean water, shelter and medicine.
So far, DFID’s overall contribution to the relief effort includes:
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