Development minister Bert Koenders decided to make the money available after learning of the situation in Haiti. 'This earthquake is a disaster of unprecedented proportions for Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world. We must help the victims as soon as possible. We are currently consulting closely with the UN and organisations like the Red Cross to examine how the Netherlands can best help Haiti,' says Mr Koenders.
'The first news bulletins and pictures show many victims and enormous damage,' he says. 'The situation looks as serious as that in Southeast Asia after the tsunami in 2004. We are looking at what forms of aid are now possible and likely to be most effective. We are also examining the possibility of deploying a Dutch urban search and rescue team.'
Haiti and its heavily hit capital Port-au-Prince are currently hard to reach. The Netherlands feels extra concerned because Haiti is a neighbour of our Caribbean partners in the Kingdom.