Hurricane Matthew: UN seeks backing for $2.7bn Haiti recovery plan

7 Mar 17

The United Nations has called for $2.7bn to support the recovery of Haiti, which suffered widespread damage during Hurricane Matthew six months ago.

The call comes as the 5th Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas conference opens in Montreal, Canada, later today.

Robert Glasser, the UN secretary-general’s special representative for disaster risk reduction, said: “Hurricane Matthew revealed disturbing truths about least developed countries which lack the capacity to respond adequately to climate change and the rising intensity and frequency of weather-related disasters.”

The hurricane that struck six months ago wreaked havoc across the Caribbean island nation, and according to the UN, caused damage equivalent to 32% of GDP.

“While the government’s civil protection system prevented many deaths, it is unacceptable that over 600 people should have died in a hurricane that was so well-forecast,” added Glasser.

The disaster struck after two years of drought, which affected the food security of around a million people, and six years after the 2010 earthquake that cost the country 120% of national GDP.

Glasser called for strong support for the three-year recovery plan developed by the Haitian government, the UN and other partners that seeks $2.72bn. Funds will go towards replaced damaged structures, with a view to reducing future disaster risk, improving early warning systems, and reducing the exposure of poor communities to the risk of extreme weather.

He also highlighted how the implementation of global efforts to reduce disaster losses must take into account the role that poverty plays in driving disaster risk.

Haiti is estimated to have lost 2% of GDP every year on average due to weather-related disasters between 1975-2012. Also, by 2012 estimates, over half (58.6%) of the country’s 10.7m people live on less than $2.4 per day.

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