February 18, 2010 1:43:32 pm
The minuscule Indian community of around 30 engineers and businessmen in quake-hit Haiti has sought financial aid from the government back home to rebuild their shattered lives and facilitate the return of those who do not wish to stay here.
These people not only lost their homes and cars in the devastating January 12 earthquake of magnitude 7.0,but also the money they had in the banks which too collapsed in the tremor,the worst to hit the tiny Caribbean nation that claimed an estimated two lakh lives.
They had presented Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Shashi Tharoor,with a written demand for compensation when he visited Port-au-Prince two weeks after the earthquake. “They (Indian officials) listened,they promised but nothing has happened,” said Eddy Handal,the honorary consul for the Indian government.
Tharoor said he was deeply sympathetic about the Indians in Haiti but the purpose of his visit had a broader mandate of expressing solidarity with Haitians,grieving the loss of UN personnel and boosting the morale of Indian peacekeepers engaged in relief work in the aftermath of the quake. “I had a four fold mission,” he said.
Officials familiar with the matter said presently there was no provision for financial help to Indians in the event of a natural disaster abroad. Further,changes to existing system would need examination by several arms of the government. Another problem for Indians here was getting back to their native country.
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