Ashdown appointed 'disaster tsar'

Lord Ashdown has been made the Government's "disaster tsar", with the task of improving Britain's response to humanitarian emergencies such as the Haiti earthquake.

The appointment of the former Liberal Democrat leader follows warnings that the number of natural disasters is likely to increase.

Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon will head a taskforce that will review policy on dispatching food and medicine to disaster zones, as well as helping with rebuilding work. Concerns have been raised that the international aid promised to Haiti is taking too long to reach the island.