http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100125/ap_ ... conference
MONTREAL – An effective recovery strategy for Haiti must take into account a sudden rush of thousands of quake survivors from Port-au-Prince into the countryside, where the economy cannot sustain them, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday.
Clinton, speaking to reporters during a break in a daylong conference intended to review and improve the delivery of short-term aid as well as chart a course for long-term recovery, said she was encouraged by the analysis of Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive. He told the conference that the exodus from Port-au-Prince has added a new twist to the post-quake challenge.
"The distribution of people (and) their needs have changed," Bellerive said. "We have to reassess the whole country," in terms of job creation and requirements for housing.
At a closing news conference, Clinton said the U.S. would host an international donors conference for Haitian relief in March at U.N. headquarters in New York.
Clinton told the concluding news conference that it would be unwise to organize a donors conference now, in the absence of a reliable assessment of Haiti's needs and a solid roadmap for how to coordinate and execute an international recovery plan.
"We are still in an emergency" with many Haitians suffering and desperate for immediate relief, she said, adding that the Montreal talks were a first step. "We're trying to do this in the correct order," she said.
Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon told the final news conference that Monday's talks had produced "the beginnings of a roadmap" for helping get Haiti back on its feet, as well as a "shared vision" of the island nation's longer-term rebuilding.
Earlier, Clinton said after a one-on-one meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper that she was pleased to see Haitian leaders addressing this problem.
"I was quite heartened to hear the prime minister say that as part of our multilateral efforts to assist Haiti we should look at how we decentralize economic opportunity and work with the Haitian government and people to support resettlement, which they are doing on their own as people leave Port-au-Prince and return to the countryside from which most of them came," she said.
Harper said he shared Clinton's view.
"It does also indicate to us the need for us to work closely with the Haitians, who do understand the conditions on the ground maybe a little better than some of us with high intentions but a little farther-away view," Harper told reporters.
In her remarks to an afternoon session that was closed to press coverage, Clinton stressed the importance of not dictating to Haiti what its priorities should be.
"Ultimately, the Haitian people will be the ones to lift up their country and chart their own destiny," she said, according to a copy of her prepared remarks.
She also called on other countries to join Brazil, Argentina and other Latin American nations in contributing to the U.N.-led military and police force in Haiti.
She called Monday's conference "the beginning of a conversation" about Haiti's future that will continue for years.
On her flight to Montreal from Washington, Clinton told reporters traveling with her that the U.S., in collaboration with international donors and organizations, had been mapping out a plan for Haiti's development for months before the quake. She indicated this could be the basis for a revised plan now.
"I don't want to start from scratch, but we have to recognize the changed challenges that we are now confronting," she said.
Asked about a news report that Haiti would request $3 billion in aid during the Montreal conference, Bellerive said no specific request was made and that the Haitian government is still assessing its financial requirements.
"The government has no official number," he told reporters.
Attending the conference were foreign ministers from more than a dozen countries, plus representatives of eight international bodies, including the United Nations and the Organization of American States, and six major non-governmental organizations. They hoped to set a target date for a follow-up conference at which donations would be pledged for Haiti's recovery and rebuilding.
Haiti's magnitude-7 earthquake killed an estimated 200,000 people and left the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere virtually without a functioning government. It wrecked the presidential palace, parliament, government ministries and the U.N. headquarters, among thousands of other structures.
Haiti's government wants many of the homeless to leave the capital city of 2 million people, to look for better shelter with relatives or others elsewhere. Officials estimate that about 235,000 have taken advantage of its offer of free transport to leave the city, and many others left on their own, some even walking.
Drills running during Earthquake. Nextgov.com article.
"On Monday, Jean Demay, DISA's technical manager for the agency's Transnational Information Sharing Cooperation project, happened to be at the headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command in Miami preparing for a test of the system in a scenario that involved providing relief to Haiti in the wake of a hurricane. After the earthquake hit on Tuesday, Demay said SOUTHCOM decided to go live with the system."
This whole ordeal screams premeditation for those who choose to look at the facts.
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