International donors on Wednesday pledged $5.3 billion to Haiti, exceeding expectations in a worldwide drive to rebuild the country after January's shattering earthquake.
Ban told reporters at the end of a one-day donors conference at U.N. headquarters that the pledges were "far beyond expectations." The world body had hoped to raise $3.9 billion at the conference to help the impoverished Caribbean nation over the next two years.
Some 120 countries also made a total longer-term commitment of some $9 billion, a figure that includes the $5.3 billion in shorter term aid. "This is the down payment Haiti needs for wholesale national renewal. It is the way to build back better," Ban said.
Ban had called for quick donations in response to a U.N. request for $1.4 billion in immediate humanitarian assistance for Haiti, which even before the Jan. 12 earthquake was the poorest country in the western hemisphere.
So far, the request has only been half funded, fueling fears that the rainy season will compound the disaster for some 1.2 million Haitians left homeless by the disaster.
Turkey announced that it would send one million USD as aid to the earthquake victims.
Turkey's Permanent Representative at the United Nations, Ertugrul Apakan, said that Turkey, to date, had provided humanitarian assistance worth one million USD to Haiti after the recent devastating earthquake.
We will send an additional one million USD to Haiti soon, Apakan said.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, co-host of Wednesday's meeting, said the United States would pledge $1.15 billion for long-term recovery, which she said must be planned and executed by Haiti's government.
"Aid is important but aid has never saved a country. Our goal must be the empowerment of the Haitian people. They're the ones who will carry on the work of rebuilding Haiti long after our involvement has ended," she said.
Clinton was joined at the meeting by her husband, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, the U.N. special envoy for Haiti who will coordinate relief efforts for the country.
The U.N. meeting seeks to raise funds for a Haitian government recovery plan that includes decentralizing the economy to create jobs and wealth outside Port-au-Prince, the capital of some 4 million people.
Haitian President Rene Preval thanked donors and told reporters his country "must take advantage of this opportunity that we now have."
"I appeal to my fellow Haitians to understand the effort that has now been made by the international community and the responsibility that we now have in the interests of our country to respond rapidly and appropriately," Preval said.
Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said his government, which saw all but one of its ministries destroyed, had a vision for Haiti's future but needed urgent help.
Aid agencies say the task is huge. Haiti suffered as many as 300,000 people killed in the magnitude 7.0 earthquake, which crippled the government and caused damage estimated at between $8 and $14 billion.
Ban said the United Nations would use an Internet-based system to track whether the funds were being spent as agreed.
In the crowded, squalid quake survivors' camps of Port-au-Prince, thousands clamored for basic necessities. Overnight rains soaked fragile shelters and turned dusty alleyways to mud.
"We need water, food, toilets, healthcare, light and tents -- shelter," said Silverin Nono, the leader of a camp that has mushroomed across a barren, garbage-strewn hillside called Bas-Canaan north of the city.
International aid agency Oxfam said although the total funding pledged was impressive, countries must ensure it is new money, "not recycled money taken from other humanitarian crises."
"The poor and vulnerable of other disasters should not be paying for this," said Oxfam spokesman Philippe Mathieu.
International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said that if the world community fulfills its pledges, Haiti's economy could grow at an average 8 percent in coming years -- almost 50 percent faster than under previous IMF forecasts.
"That's possible, but condition one is to have the Haitian authorities really in the driver's seat," he told reporters.
Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdish regional authorities are making progress to rescue a deal over crude oil exports, after it nearly unravelled due to Kurdish threats to halt shipments in protest over lack of payment.
U.S Led Coalition launches nine air strikes on ISIL targets
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni changed some ministries before elections next year.
Iran's foreign minister has accused Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu of trying to undermine Iran's negotiations towards a nuclear deal with world powers in order to distract from the Palestinian question.
Egypt's Sisi met new Saudia Arabia's King Salman to talk on regional issues
Qari Din Mohammad, who is one of the representatives of Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Omar, says peace talks are expected to begin next week in Kabul.
Italy will begin annual naval exercises this week near the coast of Libya
Tension has been running high in Yemen since the Shiite Houthi group seized control of Sanaa in September and sought to extend its influence to other provinces.
A magnitude 5.5 earthquake struck off the coast of Guatemala early on Sunday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
A blind elderly man gets help while being led to a voting booth to mark his ballot during a parliamentary election at a polling station in the Tajik capital Dushanbe March 1, 2015.
Yemen's Hadi declares Sanaa occupied by the Shiite Houthi, saying that the government takeover is nothing less than a coup.
Aliyev had been due to testify at the trial of other inmates he said had threatened to kill him.
Egyptian court labels Hamas as terrorist organisation
White House says president would block legislation forcing him to submit text of any nuclear agreement to Congress
Egypt has been cracking down on militancy in Sinai