UK government to treble Haiti response to $30m

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The UK Government is trebling its funding for the immediate humanitarian response to the Haiti earthquake.

International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said the total sum would rise from $10 million to =A320 million (over $30m) based on the latest assessments of the scale of the disaster from our team on the ground.

The increased funding from the Department for International Development is to be announced at a meeting of European Union development ministers in Brussels today (Monday 18 January).

DFID has so far pledged $10 million (=A36.2m), which is already being used for work including:

  • =A31m for the Haitian Red Cross to provide food, shelter, clean water and other immediate needs for 20,000 families;
  • =A32m for the World Food Programme for transport, communications and base camps to help with the logistics of getting relief where it's needed;
  • =A3300,000 for the World Health Organisation for disease surveillance, to help prevent the spread of epidemics such as malaria and dengue fever;
  • =A31m to help the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs bring in more than 30 extra staff to help bolster humanitarian coordination;
  • The rest has been used to transport and deploy the UK search and rescue team and the humanitarian assessment team.
The new $20m will go towards further relief and recovery work, including food, shelter, basic sanitation and health services. Our assessment team is on the ground and working with the UN, US and others to determine priorities for these funds.

International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said: "It is now clear that the international community is dealing with an almost unprecedented level of devastation.

"Our initial assessments show a level of humanitarian need which would severely test the international response in any circumstances. But the impact of this earthquake is magnified because it has hit a country that was already desperately poor and historically volatile.

"To address the needs of the immediate humanitarian response the UK Government will pledge a further $20 million, on top of the $10 million initially donated."

The EU development ministers are expected to agree large scale funding for further relief and recovery work in Haiti.

Douglas Alexander praised the generosity of the British public in responding to the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal by donating =A315 million.

"The British people have once again shown their compassion and generosity by giving this enormous support to the Disasters Emergency Committee. I would encourage people to keep on giving what they can."

DFID has despatched a team of 64 search and rescue experts from fire services around the UK. They are now on the ground, helping where they are most needed. They are already saving lives and linking up with the international effort to share expertise.

Notes to editors

1. The General Affairs & External Relations Council is meeting in Brussels today to discuss the Haiti earthquake: http://ec.europa.eu/external=5Frelations/gac/index.htm

2. The Disasters Emergency Committee appeal is online here: http://www.dec.org.uk/