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World Bank-managed Haiti aid fund only 20 percent full

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) July 14, 2010
A 500-million dollar pledge of aid for Haiti quake relief promised three months ago is only 20 percent full, the World Bank said Wednesday.

"We have for the (Haiti Reconstruction) Trust fund 98 million," the bank's vice president for Latin America, Pamela Cox, told reporters in a video conference.

Cox said that so far Brazil had donated 55 million dollars, Norway 31 million, Australia 8.6 million, Colombia 3.2 million and Estonia 50,000 dollars.

The 500 million dollar fund is part of a five-year, 10 billion dollar relief package donor countries agreed to provide for Haiti in late March, half of which was pledged for disbursement in the first two years.

"Many of the big donors to Haiti have not yet got the money in," said Cox, adding that the aid funds are often tied up in recession-hit national budgets.

Nevertheless, she called on donor countries "to make decisions faster."

"I'd like to have most of the money by the first anniversary" of the earthquake, on January 12, 2011, Cox said.

Cox, however, said the pledges were coming in at a normal pace, recalling that donor pledges made after the devastating 2004 tsunami in Asia took up to two years to arrive.

The World Bank official said the rest of the donations pledged in March were coming in on a bilateral basis between Haiti and the donor countries.

Some 250,000 people were killed and 1.5 million left homeless when the earth shook on January 12, unleashing a trail of destruction on the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Haitians on Monday marked the first six-months after the disaster with growing impatience at the slow trickle of aid and the crawling pace of reconstruction, with experts predicting it could take 20 years just to clear the rubble from the streets.

According to the United Nations office in Haiti, nearly 4,000 small homes have been built in a project that anticipates building some 10,000 houses.

Cox admitted "the pace of reconstruction has not been as rapid as we would have hoped."

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China Landslides, Floods Claim Hundreds
Beijing (AFP) July 14, 2010
A series of landslides triggered by heavy rains in China has left at least 41 people dead and 34 others missing, state media said Wednesday, as authorities brace for possible flooding. The landslides swept through villages in the southwestern provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan and in the central province of Hunan earlier this week. In a small township in Yunnan's Qiaojia county - the worst ... read more

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