WASHINGTON – Haiti and the Dominican Republic will each receive $300,000 in emergency aid to cope with recent floods, and Haiti should receive some of a special $100 million boost to help its interim government by the end of the month, an AID official said Wednesday.
Adolfo Franco, assistant administrator for the Agency for International Development, tried to reassure members of Congress at a briefing that the $100 million would be ”reprogrammed” from other projects but would not be taken from assistance to Latin America.
”We won’t rob Peter to pay Paul,” Franco said after the briefing. “This money is urgently needed for infrastructure — roads and power — and to help the government get on its feet.”
Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega also told members that U.S. military helicopters would continue to be used to deliver aid to remote villages wiped out by flooding, two members of Congress said. The briefing was a closed meeting at the insistence of the State Department, and Noriega declined to comment as he left.
The briefing was arranged by Rep. Mark Foley, a Palm Beach County Republican, and was attended by about 10 members, including Republicans Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Lincoln Díaz-Balart and Katherine Harris of Florida.
Several members said they were eager to see the Bush administration’s proposals for future aid to Haiti, and Foley said he is urging the administration to keep some U.S. military forces in Haiti beyond June 30, when they are scheduled to leave as a U.N. force gradually takes over.
”The U.S. military has tremendous respect in Haiti, and some military presence — maybe 500 to 1,000 — would be a big help,” Foley said.