“In my capacity as Shadow Minister for International Development I have visited many slums around the world, but it is the images I saw in the Cité Soleil in Port-au-Prince that lingers in my mind as the worst I have seen for its scale and the level of deprivation.

Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere and her people have endured more that their fair share of natural and social disasters, which makes Monday’s earthquake all the more tragic. The scenes that are coming from the parts of the country hit by this earthquake are so deeply distressing.

Whilst in Haiti, I stayed at the Hotel Montana which has been destroyed and met with the Chief of the UN Mission Hedi Annadi who is tragically believed to have been killed. He was a most impressive man, as were the MINUSTAH peacekeeping troops I met who have done such commendable work up till now in Haiti and will no doubt be up to the task again – and they will not be alone in support from all corners of the globe.

Experience of disasters around the world has shown that the first 48 hours is a vital time. This time has now passed and it does appear that there are real problems in getting aid in to Port au Prince. Clearly this is of intense concern, and we need a swift and urgent response by the international community. It is vital that all nations and agencies in their willingness to help, co-ordinate their efforts to ensure there is no duplication of work and produce a clear needs assessment as soon as possible.

I am also certain that the British public will continue to demonstrate their generosity of spirit and would say to anyone who wants to help that the best way to help is to donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal that has already been launched”


Source: Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP Cotswolds