Swiss seek sustainable aid for Haiti
Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey has backed a decision not to send a full-scale rescue team to the disaster-stricken capital of Haiti.
She said it was important to provide help efficiently and not to stage an event in the media limelight.
Calmy-Rey added that there was no information on possible Swiss victims of the powerful earthquake that hit the Caribbean island on Tuesday. A number of Swiss tourists are currently in Haiti.
Switzerland decided not to send a rapid response unit of about 70 members to Haiti, as the team would not have been able to reach the scene of the disaster early enough.
Instead two expert teams, including specialists in logistics, security, water and shelter as well as medical personnel have been dispatched. A shipment of up to 50 tons of emergency goods is scheduled for Friday.
“Our efforts will no doubt be less spectacular than those of others, but we will be even more efficient,” said Toni Frisch, deputy head of the of the foreign ministry’s Agency for Development and Cooperation.
He pledged Switzerland would launch a sustainable assistance programme crucial for a poor country such as Haiti.
The humanitarian Swiss Solidarity foundation, led by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, announced it will organise a public fundraising day next week for the victims in Haiti.
Meanwhile, the Swiss president, Doris Leuthard, has sent a message of condolence on behalf of the Swiss government and people to the president of Haiti, Rene Preval.
On Thursday evening, the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross put the number of dead at between 40,000 and 50,000. The country has a population of about 10 million.
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