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S Africa to Coordinate Local Relief in Haiti

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South Africa, which has a special relationship with Haiti, has announced new plans to handle relief efforts by South Africans for the quake-hit Caribbean nation.

South Africa's department of international relations said on Sunday that future humanitarian relief sent to Haiti will be coordinated through a new committee set up by the South African government.

The ministerial committee will lead, integrate and consolidate all relief activities undertaken by various institutions in South Africa aimed at supporting Haiti, the department said in a statement.

The committee will be launching a province-based campaign to raise money and donations for the benefit of Haiti "to be collected and shipped to reach Haiti on April 27, 2010--South Africa's Freedom Day," it said.

The committee would be headed by the department's deputy minister Sue van der Merwe.

Also on the committee will be deputy ministers from South Africa's departments of social development, health, co-operative governance, arts and culture and defense.

Members of South African civil society will also be present on the committee and will be represented by Gift of the Givers, the South African Red Cross, National Disaster Management Centre, Business Unity South Africa, Global Relief, and Rescue South Africa.

Former Haitian president Jean Bertrand Aristide has been living in South Africa since he was ousted in a coup in 2004.

(Xinhua News Agency February 15, 2010)

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