British government trebles aid to Haiti

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The British government is trebling the amount of aid being provided to Haiti following last week's earthquake, the prime minister's office announced on Monday.

The total sum will rise from the 6.1 million pounds (US$10 million) announced on Thursday to 18.4 million pounds (US$30 million) following assessments of the scale of the disaster by the Department of International Development officials.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Monday that he was determined to make sure the aid effort was properly coordinated on the ground.

He said: "I have been in touch with the ambassador in the last few hours, I have talked to the secretary-general of the United Nations who has to coordinate the effort and we are working with the Americans."

"I think people will want to know in the next few hours that the coordination is improved, that aid, particularly food, is getting through, and that medical supplies are arriving," he said.

Brown also pledged that the British government would continue to help in the reconstruction of Haiti in the long term.

He said: "We cannot talk about Haiti - as a country which has suffered so many disasters over these years - as a country where we can only give a week's sympathy or a month's sympathy. We have got to have compassion all round and it has got to mean that we have got to help in the reconstruction of Haiti."

On Sunday, the Foreign Office confirmed the death of Frederick Wooldridge, a British member of the United Nations team in Haiti. The Downing Street No.10 said the prime minister's thoughts were with Wooldridge's family and friends, and with the friends and relatives of British nationals who are still missing.

Brown has also sent a message of condolence to UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, following the UN's confirmation of the deaths of the UN Special Representative in Haiti Hedi Annabi, his Deputy Luiz Carlos da Costa and Acting UN Police Commissioner in Haiti Doug Coates.

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