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Haiti: Stop sending us food, healthcare

April 22, 2010 at 6:37 PM   |   Comments

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, April 22 (UPI) -- Haiti has asked for a halt in large-scale food assistance and free healthcare following the catastrophic 7-magnitude earthquake, relief workers say.

"When you continue having a lot of food distributions, you lower the price of food so that people can't trade, and it disrupts markets, basically," UNICEF nutrition aide Erin Boyd tells CBS News, although he says he disagrees with cutting back on aid.

Another reason Haiti wants the aid to stop is because desperately poor residents not devastated by the earthquake have moved into refugee camps to receive the free food and healthcare, relief workers say.

A consequence of pulling back on aid is that relief food already in Haiti will be sent to warehouses for future disasters -- a practice the U.S. Agency for International Development calls "pre-positioning."

The nearly $15 billion in aid that has poured in and been pledged to Haiti since the Jan. 12 quake killed more than 220,000 people and left 1.3 million homeless has also vastly increased corruption and crime, CBS News said.

"There are reports of gangs intercepting aid and selling food on the black market with impunity from high-ranking officials," the network said.

The United Nations Thursday launched a Web site intended to track the money pledged to Haiti by the international community.

The French and English site, www.refondation.ht, will promote efficient spending while "ensuring transparency and accountability" in the use of the money, a U.N. statement said.

The U.S. military is to end its formal earthquake relief mission in Haiti June 1, although some assistance will continue beyond that date.

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