Min­is­ter calls on aid groups to think about re­build­ing Haiti ahead of rainy sea­son

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE -

MONTREAL (CP) — Canada’s min­is­ter of in­ter­na­tional co-op­er­a­tion wants aid groups work­ing in Haiti to pre­pare for the next phase of the re­lief ef­fort: the rainy sea­son.

At a meet­ing of the in­ter­na­tional Red Cross in Montreal, Bev Oda said Tues­day that or­ga­ni­za­tions will need to fo­cus on longer-term re­con­struc­tion projects. Shel­ter is a key con­cern. Heavy rains have al­ready hit parts of the coun­try and it is only a mat­ter of time be­fore the dev­as­tated cap­i­tal of Port-au-Prince re­ceives tor­ren­tial down­pours.

Those rains are ex­pected to com­pound ex­ist­ing con­cerns over health and san­i­ta­tion in the city’s new tem­po­rary neigh­bour­hoods, which largely con­sist of tarp and bed­sheet tents.

“ The im­me­di­ate af­ter­math you’re al­ways try­ing to re­spond to the emer­gen­cies, to the im­me­di­ate in­juries, to keep­ing peo­ple alive and get­ting their needs met,” Oda said.

“I think now is the time to also start think­ing about how they are go­ing to move for­ward. We know that in Haiti the rainy sea­son will start soon. As well, there are many, many dis­cus­sions hap­pen­ing about re­build­ing Haiti.”

The Red Cross meet­ing is aimed at bet­ter co-or­di­nat­ing the group’s ef­forts in Haiti since last month’s mas­sive earth­quake.

Red Cross of­fi­cials say they hope to sta­bi­lize the coun­try by pro­vid­ing longer-term shel­ter ahead of the rains.

There are more than 300 in­ter­na­tional Red Cross and Red Cres­cent work­ers cur­rently in Haiti.

“One of the most ur­gent as­pects is to put in place shel­ter that are able to stand up to the rainy sea­son,” said Con­rad Sauve, sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the Cana­dian Red Cross So­ci­ety.

“ We can’t in­stall tents that aren’t able to stand up to the wind and rain. So we’re in the process of looking at so­lu­tions for shelters that we can re­in­force.”

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