Media Center

Press Release


  May 27, 2004

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), César Gaviria, expressed his profound sorrow today over the tragedy caused by this week’s flooding in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

“The entire inter-American community joins our sister countries in mourning the loss of so many lives,” Gaviria said, adding that the floods had wreaked particularly heavy damage in some of the neediest and most isolated areas of the island.

“Haiti and the Dominican Republic will need substantial international help to respond to this devastating tragedy, which is already being called one of the worst natural disasters to hit the Caribbean,” Gaviria said. “The OAS will do everything possible to support the humanitarian aid efforts already underway and to mobilize new resources.”

The OAS Inter-American Emergency Aid Fund (FONDEM) has already committed a $25,000 contribution to each of the affected countries, which will be channeled through the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF). In addition to this $50,000, PADF so far has mobilized contributions of more than $85,000 to help both countries. Through this non-profit organization, the private sector can work in partnership with the OAS to provide humanitarian assistance to member states affected by natural disasters.

During the OAS Permanent Council session on Wednesday, May 25, the Chair of the Council, Ambassador Miguel Ruiz-Cabañas of Mexico, expressed the member states’ condolences and solidarity with the countries affected by the floods. Haiti’s Alternate Representative to the OAS, Daniel Laviolette, and Dominican Ambassador Sofía Leonor Sánchez, thanked the countries of the hemisphere for their support.

Reference: E-091/04