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Minister for Overseas Development, Mr Peter Power, T.D, considers report of Irish Aid technical team

 

The Irish Aid technical team, which has just returned fromHaiti, will report to the Minister of State for Overseas Development, Mr Peter Power, T.D., this week and make recommendations onIreland’s ongoing response to the earthquake.

 

Addressing the Seanad this evening during a special debate on the Haitian crisis, Minister Power outlined the Government’s swift and coordinated response and pledged:

 

“I can assure this House of the Government’s commitment to stand with the Haitian people as they rebuild their shattered country.”

 

Minister Power, this week, authorised a second shipment of emergency supplies toHaitiafter hearing the Irish Aid technical team’s initial assessment. The team of four returned fromPort-au-Princeon Monday, having spent five days assessing the immediate and medium-term humanitarian needs on the ground.

 

“I will meet the team this week to hear their recommendations as to how we should direct our funding and respond more generally. These will be central to our approach to the ongoing humanitarian situation inHaiti, as well as to our pledge at the international conference onHaitiin March.

 

To date the total value of the Irish Government response both financially and in kind is well in excess of €3 million. This figure will undoubtedly increase further as the full picture ofHaiti’s needs become clearer in the weeks leading up to the international conference,” he said.

 

Highlighting the urgent need for shelter, water and sanitation, Minister Power said:

 

“Nearly 200,000 people are sleeping in the open inHaiti. In a matter of weeks the rainy season will begin andHaitiwill face a second humanitarian crisis if emergency shelter is not provided.

 

The Government is conscious of this danger and on Monday I authorised a second Irish airlift of emergency supplies toHaiti. This consists of tents and materials for use in building temporary shelters, as well as containers and sanitation equipment.

 

This 50-tonne consignment is in addition to the 84 tonnes which we sent toHaitilast week and which was distributed by Concern and Goal. Between these two consignments, the Irish taxpayer is providing a roof and basic infrastructure for more than 12,000 Haitian families.”

 

These consignments are in addition to €2 million in direct emergency funding,Ireland’s contribution of €20 million to the United Nations’ Central Emergency Relief Fund which is being drawn upon to respond to the crisis and the deployment of three members ofIreland’s Rapid Response Corps.

 

“This Government commitment reflects the desire to the Irish public to contribute to the relief ofHaiti. This is clearly illustrated by the extraordinary level of generosity towards appeals from NGOs and UN agencies over the past few days.

 

Large sums have been donated at a time when many people are feeling the effects of the recession. This level of generosity towards and solidarity with the people ofHaitiis something of which all of us inIrelandcan be proud. I commend each and every member of the public who has contributed,” Minister Power said.

 

He also paid tribute to the many Irish people working on the relief effort in Haiti and once again extended the Government’s condolences to the people of Haiti, the family of Andrew Grene and the families of all those working in Haiti who lost a loved one.

ENDS

Press Office

27 January 2010

 

Notes for the editor

  • Minister of State for Overseas Development Peter Power addressed the Seanad onIreland’s response toHaitiat 5pm today, 27 January.
  • Irelandis providing €2 million in direct emergency funding which is being channelled through Irish NGOs, UN humanitarian agencies and the Red Cross. In addition, two Government-supplied consignments of emergency humanitarian aid will ensure more than 12,000 families receive shelter and basic sanitation equipment. The second consignment which will be sent this week will bring the total supplied by the Government to more than 130 tonnes of aid.
  • Irish Aid maintains the Rapid Response Corps, a register of highly-skilled individuals who are willing to be deployed at short notice to assist in an emergency relief effort. To date there have been 65 deployments to over 20 countries including Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, DRC, Zimbabwe, Colombia and now Haiti.
  • Ireland's contributed €20 million to the United Nation's Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in 2009 and a total of €73 million since it was set up in 2006 following the Asian Tsunami. The CERF provides immediately-accessible funds to the UN for use in a crisis such as that inHaiti.Irelandis the seventh largest donor to this fund.


For further information, please contact Fionnuala Quinlan, press officer, Irish Aid, the Department of Foreign Affairs on 01-4082653 or 087-9099975. For further information on the Government’s overseas aid programme, visit www.irishaid.gov.ie