| GEO World|
| Haiti reconstruction may take a decade, donors say|
| Updated at: 0124 PST, Tuesday, January 26, 2010|
MONTREAL: Rebuilding Haiti out of the ruins left by a massive earthquake could take at least a decade, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper warned Monday as donors began to map out a long-term strategy.
"It was not an exaggeration to say that at least 10 years of hard work awaits the world in Haiti," Harper said as international leaders gathered in the wake of the 7.0-magnitude quake which ravaged the Caribbean nation.
"We must work to ensure that every resource committed, every relief worker, every vehicle, every dollar is used as effectively as possible."
He urged donors to start drawing up "the beginning of a plan that will guide reconstruction in Haiti in a way that is effective, coordinated and strategic for the decade to come."
Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive earlier said his nation needed help for what he called "this colossal work of reconstruction."
"In 30 seconds, we lost nearly 60 percent of our gross domestic product, because all of Haiti's resources were concentrated in a small area around our seat of government," he said.
"We have to decentralize. It's the only way to be efficient. It's also the only way to avoid the same problems happening in Haiti again."
The talks are aimed at defining key strategies to rebuild the country from the ground up after the January 12 quake, which killed 150,000 people and left one million homeless.
Washington has taken a frontline role in the disaster relief effort, sending in 20,000 troops as well as rescue teams and anchoring a hospital ship offshore to treat injured Haitians.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought to address concerns over the US role in supervising the effort. "The international community must ensure we are working in sync. Aid coordination has long been a challenge in Haiti, even before the earthquake," Clinton said.