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.
Militants group stormed the Katarko town, about 25km from Damaturu, the provincial capital of northeastern Yobe state, and shot dead eight people
A magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit southwest of Clara, Veracruz, was felt in Mexico City
A 21-year-old Palestinian, Alaa Azaer, died of gunshot injuries he sustained in clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians protesting a deadly Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip
The labels Belgium has in mind would mainly apply to fruit and vegetables grown in Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley of the West Bank
Southeast Asian foreign ministers will hold security talks with various counterparts including those from the United States, China and the European Union in Myanmar next month
President announces boost to state spending in Independence Day speech
Live-fire drills will be held for the next five days off China's coast in the East China Sea opposite Japan
The White House has been working closely with lawmakers, privacy experts and technology companies to secure Senate passage of what it considers critical legislation
Brazilian president calls military offensive in Gaza a "massacre," but denies any break in diplomatic ties with Israel
European Parliamentarian Margrete Auken addressed a rally in Copenhagen calling for a permenant solution
The warning came shortly after five soldiers were killed in clashes near the border area of Nahal Oz when Palestinians used a tunnel to infiltrate Israel.
A thick column of black smoke rose from the facility, which supplies the territory with two-thirds of its energy needs
Officials said 14 people, including five children, were killed in fighting on Monday evening in the town of Gorlovka/Horlivka
Hashmat Karzai was hosting an event at his house for the Eid al-Fitr holiday when a man set of hidden explosives
After the weapons were discovered, Cuba acknowledged it was sending "obsolete" Soviet-era weapons to be repaired in North Korea and then returned to Cuba.
The Obama administration has accused Moscow of conducting missile tests in contravention of a 1987 treaty, amid an ongoing diplomatic row with Russia.