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Canada to build Haiti government base, PM Harper says

Haiti Rene Preval (L) and Stephen Harper at the Canadian army base in Port-au-Prince
PM Harper is on a two-day visit to Haiti

Canada will build a new headquarters for Haiti's government, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced at the start of a two-day visit to the country.

Mr Harper said Canada would spend CAN$12m (£7.3m) on a temporary base after January's earthquake destroyed many government offices.

The base, made of prefabricated modules and inflatable shelters, is to house key ministries for up to a year.

Canada is the second biggest donor to Haiti after the United States.

"The establishment of a temporary government administrative base is an important step towards early recovery and reconstruction efforts," Mr Harper said in a statement released by his office.

He announced the new funding after meeting Haitian President Rene Preval and Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Many of the government buildings there - including the presidential palace - have lain in ruins since the 12 January quake.

The quake killed at least 217,000 people, including 31 Canadians, officials have said.

Also on Monday, at least three children were killed when part of a school collapsed in the northern city of Cap-Haitien.

A Haitian civil protection official told AFP news agency that a mudslide triggered by several days of rain had caused the collapse.

The government began allowing schools outside of hard-hit areas to reopen at the start of February.



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