News / Europe

Britain to Lend Additional Support to Haiti



Prime Minister Gordon Brown says more British assistance to quake-stricken Haiti is now on the way. Speaking in parliament, the British leader said an unloading vessel from the Royal Navy would be on its way soon and ways of helping the civilian government re-establish its influence on the island are also being worked on.

Gordon Brown told the House of Commons that Britain had been deeply moved by the still unfolding tragedy on Haiti.

In addition to British rescue, medical and aid teams already on the island and the growing relief donations from Britain, the prime minister said a navy vessel capable of unloading supplies would be leaving soon.

Gordon Brown also told his colleagues that Britain would be directly helping the civilian government in Haiti get back on its feet.

"I have talked to President Obama about what we can most do to help in the reconstruction of the government effort in Haiti so that the government can take further control and decisions that are to be made in the country. We have agreed that we will rebuild the office of the interior, the treasury and other areas where work can start so that the civil government can perform," he said.

Brown said the world must learn from the disaster and one thing he would like to see happen is the establishment of an international reconstruction-and-stabilization body that is ready to go to deal with similar catastrophes in the future.

"We have a 1,000 group. Civilian team ready to go to areas where reconstruction-and-stabilization is necessary," Brown explained.  "Some of them are in Afghanistan at the moment but the world at some point most come to the decision that first of all funding has got to be available to move immediately when there is a disaster and secondly, we need the signing up of professionals who are able to go at a moment's notice to help where there is a disaster in the future and that will require a U.N. reconstruction agency."

Given a growing assessment of the severity of the situation in Haiti, the British government has announced it will be tripling the amount of aid it will be providing to the stricken island, from $10 million to $30 million.

Brown said he is determined to make sure the British aid effort is properly coordinated on the ground.

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