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UN: Meteorological Services Urgently Needed in Haiti


U.N. weather officials say Haiti is in urgent need of meteorological services ahead of the upcoming rainy and hurricane seasons to prevent further natural disasters.

The U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization says Haiti's weather forecast facilities were knocked out by the earthquake last month and that predictions and early warnings are essential in planning for emergencies.

The WMO says 90 percent of the disasters that plague Haiti are meteorological and climate-related, such as hurricanes, flooding, drought, and landslides or mudslides. It says the cost of restoring basic meteorological services to Haiti is estimated at $1 million.

In other developments, authorities said late Monday a man has been pulled from the rubble in Port-au-Prince where he may have been trapped since the January 12 earthquake.

Officials say the severely dehydrated man was discovered as locals dug at the site of a marketplace. The man's family says he had been trapped the entire time.

Doctors at a local field hospital suggest the story could be true

More than 200,000 people were killed in the quake that devastated Haiti and left an estimated one million people homeless.

In Seoul Tuesday, the South Korean parliament unanimously approved a plan to send 240 troops to Haiti to help in reconstruction efforts. An advance team is to leave Wednesday to prepare for the deployment in Leogane, west of Port-au-Prince.

The U.N. said Monday it is racing against time to provide earthquake survivors with tents capable of withstanding severe weather expected during the rainy season, due to begin in April.

But the world body says the main concern is bringing in hazard-resistant, hurricane-proof shelter. Hurricane season begins in June.

In other news, American actress Angelina Jolie is due in Haiti Tuesday. Jolie, a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. refugee agency, met Monday in the Dominican Republic with hospitalized Haitian children.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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