AP Examines Delayed U.S. Aid For Haiti Reconstruction

“Nearly nine months after the earthquake, more than a million Haitians still live on the streets between piles of rubble. One reason: Not a cent of the $1.15 billion the U.S. promised for rebuilding has arrived,” the Associated Press writes in an article examining why this aid has not been delivered. 

“The U.S. has already spent more than $1.1 billion on post-quake relief,” but delays in the delivery of funding for long-term projects has prevented the reconstruction effort from getting off the ground, the AP writes. CHF International, “the primary U.S.-funded group assigned to remove rubble and build temporary shelters,” has been unable to make headway because of a lack of funds. “Just 2 percent of rubble has been cleared and 13,000 temporary shelters have been built – less than 10 percent of the number planned,” according to the news service. 

“With just a week to go before fiscal 2010 ends, the money is still tied up in Washington,” according to the AP. Haiti is also not “getting much from other donors. Some 50 other nations and organizations pledged a total of $8.75 billion for reconstruction, but just $686 million of that has reached Haiti so far – less than 15 percent of the total promised for 2010-11,” the news service reports.

The $1.15 billion for reconstruction was part of President Barack Obama’s $2.8 billion request to Congress in March for emergency aid to Haiti. The overall request also included funds to “pay back money already spent by USAID, the Defense Department and others. An additional $212 million was to write off debt,” the article notes. 

The article examines the legislative process for authorizing money for Haiti’s rebuilding and also looks at the State Department’s efforts “move the money along by avoiding Congress as much as possible.” It includes feedback from Jean-Claude Bajeux of the Ecumenical Center for Human Rights in Port-au-Prince, a local Haitian, Former U.S. Ambassador to the African Union John Simon and CHF International Country Director Alberto Wilde. Previous statements from Clinton and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah are also included (Katz/Mendoza, 9/29).

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