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US President Barack Obama asks for $2.8bn for Haiti

Women sit in the ruins of their home in the Fort Nationale area of Port-au-Prince, 24 March
Some 1.3 million people lost their homes in Haiti

US President Barack Obama has asked Congress for $2.8bn (£1.9bn) in emergency funds to help post-earthquake reconstruction efforts in Haiti.

He made the request a week before a UN donors conference is due to be held in New York, at which Haitian officials plan to ask for $11.5bn in assistance.

The US Senate is said to be close to a bill meeting Mr Obama's request.

At least 220,000 people died in the 12 January quake and more than a million lost their homes.

Mr Obama made his request in a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.

"This request responds to urgent and essential needs," he wrote.

"Therefore, I request these proposals be considered as emergency requirements."

The US has already played a key role in helping Haiti, spearheading the relief operation.

Senate foreign relations committee chairman John Kerry said the Senate was close to introducing legislation to meet the president's request.

Former US Presidents George W Bush and Bill Clinton visited Haiti this week as part of fund-raising efforts.

They said they wanted to attract investment to Haiti and ensure the most was made of aid donations.



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