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Americas
UN opens Haiti aid conference
US pledges $1.15bn in aid to help rebuild Haiti after January 12 earthquake.
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2010 14:50 GMT
Hillary Clinton, left, made the first pledge of $1.15bn for Haiti's reconstruction [Reuters]

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, has urged international aid donors to help "build a better future" for Haiti more than two months after a devastating earthquake struck the country.

Ban made the appeal to delegates from more than 130 nations gathered at the United Nations headquarters in New York for a donors conference on Wednesday.

The UN aims to raise a total of $3.9bn for an 18-month recovery period at the conference.

Al Jazeera's Cath Turner, reporting from New York, said each pledging country will have up to three minutes to state how much they are donating and what they prefer their money to be spent on.

"All the hosts are confident they will be able to raise the amount of money needed. That doesn't seem to be a problem.

"The main issue will be how the money is distributed and handled in Haiti and by whom."

US pledge

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, made the first pledge on Wednesday, vowing to donate $1.15bn for Haiti's recovery and reconstruction effort.

"This money will go to the government of Haiti's plan to strengthen agriculture, energy, health, security, and governance," she said.

Bill Clinton, her husband and the UN special envoy to Haiti, had made a plea for Haiti before many non-governmental organisations at New York University a day earlier.


Haiti is seeking $11.5bn for a range of projects to rebuild the quake-stricken country

"We're needed now more than ever. But we are being asked to do something we have never really been asked before, and that is work with a country and a government that shares our aspirations, if we share theirs," he said.

The earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12 claimed up to 220,000 lives and displaced more than a million people, according to the UN.

The Haitian government has asked for nearly four billion dollars to fund the first instalment of its reconstruction plan.

But it says it needs $11.5bn for a wide range of post-disaster needs ranging from infrastructure rebuilding to disaster risk management.

The reconstruction effort will be run by an interim agency chaired by Jean-Max Bellerive, the Haitian prime minister, and includes a board made up of the largest donor countries.

It is a temporary measure to help get the Haitian government back on its feet over the next 18 months, so that it can take over once again.

But many Haitians are openly skeptical and suspicious of Western countries and their promises of help.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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