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From Yahoo News:

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is asking Congress for $2.8 billion in aid for earthquake-wracked Haiti, jump-starting a global push to raise billions of dollars for the country’s reconstruction.

The request comes a week before international donors meet at the United Nations to plot how to finance a reconstruction effort that has been estimated to cost as much as $11.5 billion . More than 200,000 people died in the Jan. 12 earthquake.

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The White House said its opening bid “lays the foundation for the continued recovery and reconstruction in Haiti .”

Aid organizations, which had pressed the administration to ask for $3 billion , said the request should provide a boost to Haiti’s rebuilding.

“That is a substantial opening salvo in terms of Haiti’s reconstruction and renewal,” said Mark Schneider , a former U.S. Agency for International Development official who coordinated the U.S. response to Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

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