Earthquake in Haiti

Posted: 18/01/10

The unprecedented level of devastation and loss of life caused by the earthquake that hit Haiti on 12th January becomes more apparent with every day that passes.

Ravaging large parts of the poorest country in the Western hemisphere - where 80% of the population live in destitution - the earthquake has brought untold misery to a people who have already suffered so much.

I am very pleased that the Government is trebling its funding for the immediate humanitarian response to the Haiti earthquake. The total sum will now rise from $10 million to £20 million (over $30m) based on the latest assessments of the scale of the disaster from British teams on the ground.

The money is being used to help the Haitian Red Cross provide food, shelter, clean water and other immediate needs for 20,000 families. It is being used to help the World Food Programme build and run transport, communications and base camps to help with the logistics of getting relief where it's needed. It is helping the World Health Organisation with disease surveillance, to help prevent the spread of epidemics such as malaria and dengue fever. And it is helping with transport and deployment costs for the UK search and rescue and humanitarian assessment teams working as I write.

The Department for International Development has despatched a team of 64 search and rescue experts from fire services around the UK. They are now on the ground, helping where they are most needed. And they are saving lives and linking up with the international effort to share expertise.

The new $20m will go towards further relief and recovery work, including food, shelter, basic sanitation and health services.

The British people and residents of Westminster have already done so much to help the people of Haiti and for that I am extremely grateful. But we need to do more if we can.

If you would like to donate to the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) and help their members on the ground in Haiti then please call 0370 60 60 900 or donate online at https://www.donate.bt.com/dec_form_haiti.html