The Organisation of American States (OAS) is collaborating with the World Bank on a US$13 million Emergency Recovery and Disaster Management Project to help Haiti rebuild areas destroyed by flooding that accompanied Tropical Storm Jeanne last month.OAS Secretary General Miguel Angel Rodr’guez today outlined aspects of the project, as he concluded a two-day visit to Haiti, where he viewed first-hand the extent of the destruction left by the deadly storm. He also met with the Interim President Boniface Aléxandre, Prime Minister of the provisional government Gérard Latortue and Justice Minister Bernard Gousse.
The Secretary General explained that the emergency recovery project is also intended to help communities across Haiti boost their defense against natural disasters. A major focus of this Haiti initiative entails assistance to develop and implement national building codes and standards.
During his visit, Secretary General Rodr’guez reiterated the hemispheric body’s firm commitment to Haiti, in humanitarian support and development of democratic institutions. In that regard, he expressed regret at the recent surge of violence in the capital city, Port-au-Prince, and stressed the need for genuine political dialogue as the means to a lasting solution to the country’s political crisis.
He also underscored the importance of upholding human rights, pledging renewed effort to establish the rule of law and stressing the need for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti and the Haitian National Police to be supported during this transition process. Rodr’guez said he would address the Justice Minister’s request for OAS assistance in strengthening an independent judiciary and in modernizing the criminal procedures. He also discussed with the political leaders OAS efforts through the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), which has donated more than US$100,000 to relief efforts and brought additional supplies for storm victims this week.
Following a visit to the city of Gonaïves on the north coast, where the storm hit hardest, the Secretary General also met with leaders of the Fanmi Lavalas and Convérgence Démocratique political groups and with civil society organizations such as the Group of 184, as well as with members of a “core group” of ambassadors and inter-American agency representatives in Haiti.
At a press conference prior to his departure for Grenada, the OAS Secretary General discussed presented the Haitian Red Cross with a check for US$25,000 towards relief efforts that are already underway.