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Press Release


  September 15, 2008

Organization of American States’ (OAS) Assistant Secretary General Albert R. Ramdin concluded a two-day visit to Haiti, during which he expressed the Organization’s solidarity with the people of Haiti, delivered a monetary and in-kind contribution, and presented a proposal to analyze ways to support the relief efforts in the wake of the successive tropical storms that struck most areas of the Caribbean nation.

“I believe that under these extraordinary circumstances the Government of Haiti not only needs the support of the international community, but also from the private sector, civil society and legislators in Haiti,” stated Ramdin.

During his visit, he held meetings with President René Préval, Prime Minister Michèle Duvivier Pierre-Louis, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Alrich Nicolas, where he reiterated the commitment of the OAS to supporting stability and socio-economic development in Haiti. He also expressed confidence that the new authorities will view the hurricane challenges as opportunities for reconstruction and development, with the support of the international community.

Recognizing the need for urgent humanitarian relief, especially in the areas not reached as yet, the OAS and it’s affiliate organization, the Pan-American Development Foundation (PADF), mobilized financial and in kind resources, in particular through the Inter-American Emergency Aid Fund (FONDEM).

In a helicopter survey of areas affected by the disaster, and with the collaboration of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), Ramdin flew over the cities of Cabaret and Gonaives, where several areas are still flooded.

Ramdin met as well as with Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General in Haiti, Hédi Annabi, and other partners of the inter-American system, including the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), and the PADF, with the goal of achieving better synergy and information sharing.

At the end of his visit, Ramdin concluded that “the situation in Haiti requires the full attention and support of the CARICOM nations and the rest of the Western Hemisphere.” He added, “We must be equally focusing our efforts on the mid and long term social and economic challenges Haiti will be facing as a consequence of the impact of the hurricanes.” Praising the government’s resolve to tackle the enormous reconstruction effort, he said that “although the general situation presents huge challenges of emergency response, rehabilitation and reconstruction, the Haitian authorities have expressed their determination to face them effectively.”

Assistant Secretary General Ramdin, who also chairs the Haiti Task Force, a coordinating mechanism within the OAS that works toward enhancing and streamlining cooperation programs with Haiti, will present the findings of his most recent visit to the island state in a meeting of the Group of Friends of Haiti tomorrow, Tuesday, September 16, at 4:00 pm, at the OAS Headquarters in Washington DC.

Reference: E-346/08