News / Europe

Sarkozy Calls For International Donors Conference to Help Haiti

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is calling for an international donors conference to help Haiti rebuild from the catastrophic earthquake that hit the impoverished island on Tuesday.

President Sarkozy said he would call his US counterpart Barack Obama to push for an international donors' conference to help Haiti get back on its feet.

Mr. Sarkozy said the devastating earthquake that has killed an estimated tens of thousands of people and turned buildings into rubble was only the latest disaster to strike the poor Caribbean country. He said it was time to end what he called Haiti's 'curse' once and for all.

Aid from all over the world is heading to Haiti, but it is slow to reach the needy. Experts are working to rescue those trapped in the rubble - and to pull out the dead. The International Red Cross estimates that about one-third of Haiti's population - some three million people - may need emergency relief.

France has historic ties to Haiti. It was among the first countries to send aid to the small island. So far, Paris has dispatched several planes loaded with emergency teams and relief supplies, and will be sending two military ships and a water treatment center shortly. The international community has also pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Haiti.

But Mr. Sarkozy suggested more was needed. He said the United States, Brazil, Canada and European countries should take the initiative in pushing for a donors' conference. He also said he would be visiting Haiti in the coming weeks.

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