"A comprehensive assessment is needed to identify short and long term needs of the population and EU's engagement in the reconstruction process", underline MEPs in a resolution which voices Parliament's sympathy and solidarity with Haiti's people.
To further improve the EU's ability to help deal with similar situations in future, the European Commission should present an evaluation of the European response to the humanitarian crisis in Haiti as soon as possible, it adds.
Protecting the most vulnerable
MEPs are most concerned about the welfare of the vulnerable, particularly children and women, while the latter should be fully involved in the reconstruction efforts. Moreover, the European Parliament is in favour "of a temporary moratorium on new adoptions of children from Haiti for up to two years after tracing efforts have begun."
Unaccompanied and separated children should be provided with services aimed at reuniting them with their parents or customary care-givers as quickly as possible. Given the risk of human trafficking incidents, the international community should urgently assess whether a co-ordinated plan is needed to deal with the thousands of children left orphaned by the earthquake, says the resolution.
EU Civil Protection Force
Parliament calls on the Commission to present proposals as soon as possible to establish an EU Civil Protection Force, which will allow the EU to pull together all the means necessary to deliver humanitarian emergency aid within 24 hours following a catastrophe.
Debt relief for Haiti
As Haiti is saddled with a foreign debt estimated at approximately $1 billion, Parliament welcomes the decision by the G7 to cancel Haiti's international debt and expects all countries and international donors, including the IMF to do likewise. Any emergency earthquake assistance should be provided in the form of grants, not debt-incurring loans, stress MEPs.
The resolution was adopted by a large majority, with 648 votes in favour, 1 against and 33 abstentions.