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Spain offers planes to evacuate EU nationals from Haiti

Wed 20th Jan 2010

The Spanish government has placed its aeroplanes at the disposal of European nationals awaiting evacuation from Haiti. Announcements are already being broadcast from local radio stations to locate EU nationals who have still not been contacted.

Twelve diplomats and public officials travelled from Madrid and other cities to Port-au-Prince on Thursday, where they will open a provisional embassy from which to coordinate all aid activities. The site will also serve as a centre for European coordination, as the State Secretary for Latin America Juan Pablo de Laiglesia announced on Tuesday, given that Spain holds the presidency of the EU in the first half of 2010.

Thirteen aeroplanes – with a further three expected on Tuesday – have taken food, water and other aid material to Haiti, according to Mr De Laiglesia.

p>Spanish cooperation agencies present in Haiti are focusing their relief operations on emergency health care.

Coordination of the medium- and long-term aid efforts got underway in a meeting in Santo Domingo on Monday, where it was decided to promote an international conference to draw up a Strategic Plan for the Reconstruction of Haiti, which will contribute to the social and economic stability of the country beyond the emergency measures being implemented at present.

The cost of rebuilding Haiti – according to estimates by the participants in the meeting convened by the president of the Dominican Republic Leonel Fernández, and in which the EU was represented by the Spanish Deputy Prime Minister María Teresa Fernández de la Vega - will amount to approximately 10,000 million US dollars.

The five-year plan is also intended to help the impoverished country strengthen its institutions and democratic system.

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