January 15, 2010
SVG to send aid to Haiti

St. Vincent and the Grenadines will join the rest of the world in coming to the assistance of the Caribbean nation of Haiti.

Describing the situation as “a real tragedy”, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves told Searchlight on Wednesday evening that St. Vincent and the Grenadines will be sending rice, flour and water to the nation where over 100,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the quake.{{more}}

“We will also send money through the coordinated Caricom response,” Gonsalves said.

The prime minister said in 2008, Haiti had been hit by four hurricanes, followed by the economic downturn of 2009.

“One blow after the other, on people who can least bear these strikes,” and obviously distressed Gonsalves said.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued an urgent call Wednesday to the international community to assist Haiti, as the Caribbean island counted the cost of a devastating earthquake the day before.

Tuesday’s 7.0-magnitude quake struck shortly before 5 p.m. local time on Tuesday, and was centered about 10 miles (15 kilometers) southwest of the capital Port-au-Prince, the US Geological Survey reported. The International Red Cross estimated that over three million people in the impoverished nation had been affected.

“There is no doubt that we are facing a major humanitarian emergency and that a major relief effort will be required,” Ban said in a statement on the U.N. Web site.

Expressing gratitude to nations rushing aid to the earthquake’s victims, he called for the world to “come to Haiti’s aid in this hour of need.”

The U.N., he said, has mobilized an emergency response team to help coordinate humanitarian relief efforts and is expected to be on the ground shortly.