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Interview with Haiti's Interim President: food, water and medicine urgently needed

Reporter: Guo Qiuli 丨 CCTV.com

10-11-2016 15:17 BJT

CCTV‘s correspondent Stephen Gibbs has also interviewed  Haiti's Interim President, Jocelerme Privert. He told us that Haiti now needs massive aid from the international community.

Q1: The world is looking at Haiti and feeling that, once again, a disaster has struck, what do you require from the international community. What does you country need?

"As we have witnessed with our own eyes, the situation is catastrophic. The damage is enormous. Not just in terms of human life, but also in terms of material loss. Those losses have included roads, schools, agriculture and homes. We are talking about the destruction of 88% of homes. That demands of us two forms of action."

"Urgent action: to bring water, to bring food, medicine, to the victims. We also need additional measures so people can leave shelters and go back to their homes and prevent the spread epidemics such cholera, zika and chikunguya. A simple overview of the affected areas allows us to see that there are 5 bridges that have collapsed. And several kilometers of road have been washed away too. And they are talking about 2600 schools without a roof. And we need to get the children back to school. We need to rebuild the roads. It is imperative that we regenerate agriculture so that after this initial urgent period we don't face a food crisis, which could then lead to widespread famine."

"This is the challenge that we face in the coming weeks. But I am asking that the foreign aid allows us to regenerate our agriculture, to prevent widespread famine. It should help us build a fresh water system, not just distribute bottles of water to the population. And at the same time we need to take immediate structural action - humanitarian assistance is indispensable of course but the real assistance the country needs is to rebuild the infrastructure of the country."

Q2: Did the Haitian government do enough to protect the people before the hurricane came? If you look at Cuba there seems to have been low loss of life.

"We undertook an extensive campaign to make people aware, to mobilize them, to alert them to move away from the zones at risk. Had we not undertaken this I fear we would be looking at a higher death toll. "

Q3: There has been a lot of commentary that the international aid community, and perhaps Haiti too, failed after the 2010 earthquake: billions of dollars came into this country and people come here and say 'where did it all go?'. Have you learned lessons of how to cope with a disaster after 2010?

"Is it Haiti that failed? Or is the international aid that failed Haiti? It is true that after the earthquake all of the friends of Haiti, all of Haiti's partners mobilized to assist us, to face this monumental task. The challenges were enormous. We needed to protect and save lives. We had to assist the victims. We needed to reconstruct the country. If we are talking about foreign aid to reconstruct the country, we are still waiting on that."

Q4: The presidential election postponed due to the hurricane. When will the election take place?

"The decision of when to hold an election is not one for the executive, nor the President. The President can sign a decree asking the people to vote, but only at the behest of the national electoral council. The electoral council is the only institution authorized to decide the date of the election. It is the electoral council itself that decided to postpone the elections of the 9th October. The executive is waiting for another date at the request of the electoral council. It is not the responsibility of the executive to set a date."

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