Gordon Brown announces 1,000 strong civilian stabilisation group made up of professionals who can rebuild Haiti's infrastructure, including prisons

British construction professionals are helping to rebuild prisons in Haiti under a new aid group launched by the UK government.

More than a thousand people have been earmarked to go to disaster-struck country at 24 hours notice as part of the new civilian stabilisation group.

They will offer a range of expertise, from building to law enforcement in countries recovering from all types of humanitarian crisis, as well as from natural disasters and to conflicts.

Prime minister Gordon Brown said: "This 1,000-strong civilian stabilisation group will further strengthen our ability to offer rapid help in rebuilding countries after conflict or disaster."

Sheelagh Stewart, head of the group, said: "The unit is the government's centre of expertise and best practice in stabilisation, responding to the complex challenges of fragile and conflict-afflicted states.

"This is about getting the right people to fragile countries fast enough to reduce threats to their stability."

The magnitude 7.0 earthquake which struck Haiti in mid-January killed more than 200,000 people and left around 1.5 million homeless.