A two-day summit of G7 industrialised countries has culminated in a promise to erase Haiti’s debt to them.
But host Canada warned there was still work to be done on reducing the bulk of the quake-ravaged nation’s foreign obligations: some 653 million euros owed to institutions such as the World Bank and the InterAmerican Development Bank.
At a post-summit press conference, Canada’s Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty, said: “We are committed in the G7 to the forgiveness of debt, in fact all bi-lateral debt has been forgiven by G7 countries vis-a-vis Haiti. The debt to multi-lateral institutions should be forgiven, and we will work with these institutions and other partners to make this happen as soon as possible.”
The news offers a glimmer of hope for the future but the present remains grim for the survivors of the January 12 quake.
Violence is said to be on the rise once again in Haiti with women reporting sex attacks – even within refugee camps – and having their precious food aid coupons stolen.
Despite a massive presence of US and United Nations troops, as well as local security forces, looting continues in the capital Port-au-Prince.
In one incident, some two tonnes of food and water aid were stolen when a lorry from the Dominican Republic got stuck trying to make a u-turn.