A roundup of key private-sector and multilateral news related to the earthquake in Haiti.
BY CHRONICLE STAFF
More than 200 companies have contributed more than $83 million to the Haiti relief effort, the US Chamber of Commerce announced. The Chamber yesterday applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for passing HR 4462 - allowing U.S. taxpayers to claim on their 2009 income tax returns any charitable contributions to Haiti relief programs up until March 1, 2010 - and urged the Senate to quickly pass the legislation.
Meanwhile, The VICINI and the INICIA Foundation announced an immediate cash donation of $1 million and begun a massive drive to collect millions of dollars to help Haiti.
According to Felipe A. Vicini, executive president of VICINI, “the recovery from this tragedy must be a global effort and we are committed to contribute with all means possible to this cause. We are making a coordinated effort through our companies to provide essential aid for our Haitian neighbors. This assistance to our brother nation will substantially help them recover from the devastation caused by the earthquake.”
Brazilian retail giant Grupo Pão de Açúcar has donated $1 million to the relief effort in Haiti. Mexican cement giant Cemex is making its heavy machinery in Haiti available to assist relief teams in their efforts and has launched a rapid response effort to provide humanitarian aid to employees, their families, and neighboring communities, it announced.
The president of the Inter-American Development Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno, called for increased financial aid for Haiti, which last week suffered the worst natural disaster in its history.
In a visit to the Haitian capital, which was razed by an earthquake last Tuesday, Moreno said that he would ask the IDB Board of Governors to assign additional resources to Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
“Only by walking the streets of Port-au-Prince can one grasp the scale of this catastrophe. It’s heartbreaking to see the pain on people’s faces,” he said in a statement. “But I also saw countless examples of the Haitian spirit of resilience. They are determined to overcome this challenge.”
The IDB’s Haiti portfolio currently holds some $330 million in undisbursed funds, of which $90 million could be quickly redirected to high-priority civil works and reconstruction projects. In addition, the IDB expects to approve up to $128 million in new grants for Haiti this year, potentially providing more resources for reconstruction.
Additionally, the Board of Governors could consider the possibility of providing further debt relief to Haiti, on top of the $511 million in debt cancellation announced last year. The Paris Club also urged debt relief for Haiti.
Meanwhile, the Andean Development Fund (CAF) announced that it was donating $250 million to the relief effort.
Previously, UPS announced that it had contributed more than $1 million in cash and in-kind support to earthquake relief efforts in Haiti through its charitable arm, The UPS Foundation. The $1 million donation will include $500,000 in cash and up to $500,000 of in-kind services for the shipment of needed supplies. The funds will be divided between The American Red Cross, CARE, UNICEF and other organizations that assist with long-term relief activities.
Hope for Haiti, a non-profit organization based in Florida, was scheduled to send two 757 airplanes to Port-au-Prince on Saturday. A $500,000 donation from GoDaddy will allow the airplanes—one of which was donated by GE—to reach the Hope for Haiti trauma team, the organization said in a statement. The planes will carry medical supplies and first aid medical personnel to continue to help the earthquake survivors.
Citigroup Inc. announced a $2 million commitment for immediate relief and recovery efforts in Haiti. Meanwhile, the AT&T Foundation is providing a $50,000 donation to Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) to support their relief work on disasters in Haiti. The State Department's "Text Haiti" campaign allowing people to donate to the Red Cross by mobile phone raised more than $1 million in its first day, Bloomberg reported.
Delta Air Lines and American Airlines both suspended service after the quake left the Port-au-Prince air-traffic control tower out of commission. Citibank's Haiti headquarters collapse. Other companies such Royal Caribbean and Advanced Building Associates also have investments in Haiti, while companies like Wal-Mart and Caterpillar are pledging relief funds, Portfolio reports. The Pan American Development Foundation, which works closely with the private sector, has set up a special relief effort.
And The World Bank provides an additional $100 million in emergency grant funding to support recovery and reconstruction in the Caribbean nation, it said in a statement.
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