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Greece sends humanitarian aid to Haiti

05 February 2010 / 10:02:25  GRReporter
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The Greek mission headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis, is leaving Sunday evening for Haiti. The plane will carry 50 tons humanitarian aid. The government has committed to continue economic support for the restoration of the country, which was struck by a devastating earthquake, summarized Mr. Kouvelis at a press conference. 

Jumbo type airplane 747 of Hellenic Imperial Airways will depart the Athens airport on Sunday at 10:00PM and will arrive after a 12-hour flight, at the airport in Port-au-Prince. This is a second initiative undertaken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in support of Haiti. Greece was among the first countries that responded, only few hours after the earthquake, by transferring €200 000 from the Office for Humanitarian Aid Department funds to the World Food Program, whose chief immediately thanked for the "quick reaction." 

The plane will have the right to stay in the Haitian airport for 3-4 hours, during which the humanitarian aid collected by the state and volunteers, will be unloaded. Minister Kouvelis will have the time to hand an official note, to a senior government officer, addressed from PM George Papandreou to the Prime Minister of Haiti. In the official letter Papandreou notes the amount of the aid, talks about the historical connection between the two nations, as well as linking the Greek government to continue its support for Haiti on the basis of their abilities. 

In flight to Haiti will be joined by five representatives of two nongovernmental organizations - Doctors of the World and the Greek Group of salvation. Upon its return to Greece, the plane will be able to bring back those Greeks who want to return to the country. In addition, following agreement with the Spanish presidency of the European Union, the plane can also bring nationals of other European countries, who will land in Athens and will be able to leave from there to their final destination. 

The next Greek initiative related to Haiti will be the restoration of infrastructure related to the health of children, which is in very bad condition, stressed Spyros Kouvelis. In this direction were conducted repeated discussions with the Foreign Minister of Haiti Marie-Michelle Rey, to allow the execution of this aid in the best possible way. 

The humanitarian aid, which was gathered by various organizations and the Ministry, consisted mainly of drugs and other medical supplies, food and tents. Greece was ready to send help - a team of people, from January16, the Minister explained, but it was not possible to obtain a permit to land at the airport in Port-au-Prince as the nearest date on which it could land was February 8. At the beginning people were about to be sent, but since the date was pushed ahead, it was decided that humanitarian aid will be sent instead of a team of people, because sending teams is mostly important during the first 30 hours, said Minister Kouvelis. 

Minister Kouvelis thanked his colleagues from the Ministry, who had worked on weekends with full dedication, and all voluntary organizations who helped to collect and send aid.

Tags: Haiti earthquake Greece humanitarian aid Doctors of the World
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