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Haitian Prime Minister Cites Rebuilding Progress, Lack Of Aid

Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive “insisted Tuesday that progress is being made in his devastated homeland despite the trickle of international aid,” the Miami Herald reports.

Speaking at the closing of the Americas Conference, an annual event sponsored by the Herald and the World Bank, Bellerive said “that millions are being spent on new highways, students are back in school, a new multimillion dollar teaching hospital is under construction, and thousands of new apartments are coming on line. ‘We’ve only had 240 days,” said Bellerive. ‘And what we have accomplished in those brief 240 days is, under the circumstances, remarkable when weighed against the challenges.” The newspaper also reports that “only 18 percent of the $5.3 billion pledged” by international donors has been disbursed so far, which Bellerive said is a “serious impediment to Haiti’s progress” (Charles, 9/14).

In an interview with Reuters, Pamela Cox, the World Bank’s vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean, called post-earthquake Haiti “one of the worst situations that the world has faced” and “said coordinating the efforts of so many disparate aid bodies was in itself challenging.” Cox also spoke about the difficulty of moving people out of camps into permanent housing and the importance of job creation and private investments (Fletcher, 9/15).

New Outlets Examine Haitian Housing Issues

The Los Angeles Times examines how major property right disputes are interfering with the effort to resettle homeless earthquake survivors and general rebuilding in Haiti: “No one knows where to relocate more than a million people displaced by the Jan. 12 quake. The government and foreign aid groups want to move many back to their old neighborhoods or open spaces nearby and build single-family shelters for them. But to avoid roiling an already volatile situation, they must know who owns the land they’re building on. In Haiti, this requires stepping into a morass nearly as old as the country itself” (Mozingo, 9/15).

“Eight months after the quake killed an estimated 300,000 and left at least 1½ million homeless, Haiti still has no housing minister, policy or approved strategy,” the Miami Herald notes in a story looking at the Corail-Cesselesse emergency housing camp 12 miles north of Port-au-Prince. “It was promised as the place where those displaced from the Western Hemisphere’s worst natural disaster could begin to rebuild their shattered lives as they await the birth of a new city. … Six months later, only a few plywood temporary shelters are up, and most of what was promised in Corail-Cesselesse has not been delivered” (Charles, 9/13).

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