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. UN calls for 107 million dollars in aid for storm-struck Haiti

by Staff Writers
Mexico City (AFP) Sept 10, 2008
The United Nations has called for some 107 million dollars in humanitarian aid to help Haiti recover from four major storms in less than four weeks, a top UN official said here Wednesday.

UN emergency relief coordinator John Holmes made the appeal along with Latin American countries, after the first regional meeting on international humanitarian assistance mechanisms in Mexico City.

"The Latin American nations made an appeal to collect around 107 million dollars as humanitarian aid for the next six months," said Holmes, also undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs.

More than 600 people died in Haiti, which in the past month was hit by four massive storms, including two hurricanes, which unleashed widespread flooding and devastation in the impoverished nation.

Holmes underscored that some 800,000 people, or 10 percent of the population, had been affected, with many lacking food and shelter.

Three million dollars in aid would also be destined for Cuba, where four died and two of the powerful storms left a trail of destruction in quick succession, Holmes said.

He added that Cuba had not requested the aid, but would have to accept it.

The UN call came as international offers grew toward Caribbean nations, including a pledge of 10 million dollars from the United States to Haiti.

Hurricane Ike, which soaked Haiti and hit Cuba twice, strengthened to a powerful category two storm Wednesday as it churned through the Gulf of Mexico toward the US state of Texas.

President George W. Bush declared an emergency in Texas and state authorities began ordering evacuations from coastal areas.

Mexican authorities meanwhile declared a yellow alert -- the first of three levels of danger -- in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, bordering Texas.

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Nearly 200 officials punished over China quake relief: state media
Beijing (AFP) Sept 10, 2008
China has received thousands of complaints over misconduct among officials involved in Sichuan earthquake relief work, resulting in the punishment of nearly 200 cadres, state press said Wednesday.

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