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.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has rejected a call to move or postpone this summer's Rio Olympic Games over the Zika outbreak.
Donald Trump has hit back at Trump after he said that he would "cancel" the Paris climate deal in his first major speech on energy policy.
45 bodies found after major sea accident involving refugees travelling to Europe
'Close cooperation between Russia, the US and EU to end the war in Syria is exceptionally important,' says Greek president
Minh Quang Pham has been sentenced after pleading guilty in January to charges he provided material support to Al Qaeda.
Salud Hernandez-Mora says 2 Colombian journalists will be released Saturday
Civilians in their hundreds have fled from Fallujah with nearly 50,000 people trapped in the city as government troops take on ISIL
The death of a civilian in custody has been blamed on peacekeepers.
'The train has left the station. Those who want to see its success should get on board,' says President Kenyatta
Iraqi security forces fired tear gas and gunshots into the air on Friday as hundreds of protesters stormed Baghdad’s heavily secured Green Zone, rushing toward the prime minister’s office and the parliament building.
A new campaign by Muslims in Malaysia are calling out for support for the building of a mosque in Spain's southern city of Seville
French President Francois Hollande has refused to back down over labour market reforms as trade unions threaten protests.
Ukrainian military pilot Nadiya Savchenko, who was freed this week after two years in a Russian jail, has announced she is ready to become Ukrainian President
Arshad al-Salihi says civilian deaths in ongoing Fallujah operation caused by Iraqi army airstrikes
The UK is set to send warship to the Mediterranean to help tackle arms smuggling in Libya as Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.