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EU aid for Haiti tops 400m euros

French rescuers in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 17 Jan 10
French rescuers are among teams from many nations in Haiti

The EU has pledged more than 400m euros (£354m) in emergency aid for Haiti, as rescuers battle to help survivors of last week's devastating earthquake.

The European Commission - the EU's executive arm - will provide 137m euros for short-term needs and at least 200m euros for the medium and longer term.

The EU member states will provide an additional 92m euros, officials said after emergency talks in Brussels.

Rescuers from EU nations are already working in devastated Port-au-Prince.

The Commission said the immediate priority had been to dispatch "urban search and rescue teams", including military and civil engineering teams.

Gavin Hewitt
The EU may be most effective at coordinating medium and long-term development
Gavin Hewitt
BBC Europe editor

"The current focus is to provide emergency health, water and sanitation, medical facilities, shelter, logistics, telecommunications and food."

EU ministers said the work required "adequate security on the ground to ensure safe and unhindered access of aid deliveries".

The leading US general in Haiti, Lt Gen Ken Keen, says it is a "reasonable assumption" that up to 200,000 people may have died in last Tuesday's earthquake.

Relief efforts are being slowed by bottlenecks, and many thousands of survivors are fending for themselves in the ruined capital Port-au-Prince and stricken areas around it.

The UN has launched an appeal for £346m intended to help three million people for six months, most of whom are thought to need emergency relief.

The British government is to triple its aid to Haiti to £20m.



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