ECLAC Calls for Urgent International Cooperation with Haiti

The enormous damage caused by the quake yesterday adds on to the losses for almost US$ 900 million caused by cyclones in 2008.

(13 January 2010) The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) expressed its solidarity with the people of Haiti after the earthquake yesterday and called for urgent international cooperation in humanitarian aid and the subsequent reconstruction of the country, which has suffered harsh natural disasters in recent years.

The earthquake in Haiti has left thousands dead and hundreds remain disappeared, including a non confirmed number of members of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti. ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena expressed her utmost condolences and solidarity with the Haitian victims and UN staff members stationed there.

In moments in which Haiti is undergoing the most critical stage of saving lives, Bárcena offered ECLAC's total cooperation in the immediate humanitarian tasks and later on, in the assessment of the reconstruction process, contributing its experience as part of the United Nations system.

"ECLAC has supported Haiti in the assessment of other disasters - the most recent of which were the cyclones in 2008 - along with the United Nations system and the World Bank. We are available to help the Haitian people again and contribute to its prompt recovery," wrote Bárcena in a letter addressed to Haitian President René Préval.

The destruction caused by this earthquake aggravates an already extremely precarious situation in Haiti, which suffered four cyclones in 2008. ECLAC estimated the total cost of damages and losses that year at almost US$900 million, equivalent to 14.6% of the country's GDP.

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Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (ROLAC). Phone: (507) 317-1748 / Fax: (507) 317-1744. Mobile: (507) 6676-1651 / Emergency: (507) 6679-1861.

ECLAC's Information Services. Email:; telephone: (56-2) 210-2149.

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