The earthquake which measured force 7 on the Richter scale and devastated the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, and other cities in the region claimed the lives of 220,000 and injured a further 300,000. It also caused massive destruction of essential infrastructure. Switzerland will join the international effort to rebuild the country, which is one of the poorest in the world.
Most of the relief actions of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) will be carried out outside Port-au-Prince in parts of the country badly hit by the earthquake, in particular in the cities and rural areas south-west of Port-au-Prince.
Switzerland’s aid efforts will focus in particular on rebuilding schools and hospitals destroyed by the earthquake. The reconstruction will be carried out in conformity with anti-earthquake building codes. Switzerland will also work on projects for supplying drinking water and reconditioning and repairing existing distribution systems.
The SDC will also support projects in rural development, food security and reforestation. Due to the very fragile environment in Haiti, it is especially important to provide people in the country with knowledge on the techniques of sustainable farming, with higher-quality seed and the capacity to store and trade their produce.
The intervention and the activities of the SDC will be coordinated with the efforts of the international community and the Haitian government.
Switzerland’s contribution to Haiti’s economic, social and political rehabilitation has been made possible through the restructuring of existing framework credits. It will be covered by the 2006 credit line for humanitarian aid (CHF 20 million) and by the 2008 credit line for development cooperation (CHF 15.9 million). Switzerland’s aid to Haiti between 2010 and 2012 will therefore total CHF 35.9 million, to which can be added a further CHF 55 million which was raised by Swiss Solidarity thanks to the generosity and sense of compassion of the people of Switzerland.
A Swiss delegation led by Martin Dahinden, SDC’s Director-General, will participate in a ministerial conference entitled “Toward a New Future for Haiti” that will take place in New York on 31 March 2010 at the invitation of the United Nations. Switzerland will present its programme of support for the Haitian people at the conference.
The situation in Haiti will also be discussed at the Annual Conference of the Humanitarian Aid and Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit which will take place on 26 March 2010 in Montreux, the theme of which will be “Food Aid – from assistance to self-reliance”.
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