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Haitian President Urges Swift Clean-Up Before Next Hurricane Season

Removing dead bodies and sheltering more than a million people remain priorities

Washington, D.C., February 4, 2010 – Haitian President Rene Garcia Preval told VOA in an exclusive interview that removing dead bodies and sheltering more than a million people remain priorities in the earthquake devastated country.

“We still have dead bodies under the rubble,” said President Preval. He expressed concern that this would become a source of disease if not dealt with quickly. He added that “more than one million people are on the street” and that the Haitian government needs 200,000 tents to shelter them.

The Haitian president traced his country’s problems to four hurricanes that struck during the summer of 2008. “So many people moved from the rural areas to Port-au-Prince after the hurricanes and the infrastructure was never rebuilt.” He added that, “if we don’t prepare for the hurricane season, we face another catastrophe. I am trying to get relief for the people and prepare for the hurricane season.”

During the interview, President Preval told VOA’s audience that he was grateful for the aid his country has received from the international community.

When asked about the American missionaries who were detained for attempting to transport Haitian children across the border into the Dominican Republic, President Preval said, “We cannot accept that foreigners come and take young Haitian children without any documentation. We don’t know if the parents gave the children freely, and an investigation will proceed to determine what happened.”

VOA Creole has long been a trusted source of news and information in Haiti and is the most popular international broadcaster in the country with a weekly audience reach of just over 50% of the adult population, according to independent survey research.

Stories, audio reports, photos, video and survival information are posted on VOA’s main website

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 125 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages and are intended exclusively for audiences outside of the United States.

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