Republicans Criticize USAID’s Work In Haiti During Hill Hearing

Republicans criticized USAID’s work in Haiti during a House subcommittee on foreign affairs hearing on Wednesday, citing findings from inspector general reports about U.S. aid to the country after the January 2010 earthquake, the Associated Press reports (5/11). Republicans, led by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), described U.S. relief efforts in Haiti as “pathetic” and said USAID had failed to track its spending and appropriately monitor outcomes, the Salt Lake Tribune reports (Canham, 5/11).

According to the AP, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said, “You can’t judge the effort in Haiti in one or two years,” adding that “Haiti has been a very poor country for a long time” (5/11). Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.), the subcommittee’s top Democrat, “said he hoped the hearing wasn’t part on an effort to cut USAID funding because ‘those proposed cuts, I think, are shortsighted. Aid is the key to building stronger sovereign governments that can support their own people,'” the Salt Lake Tribune reports (5/11).

Also on Capitol Hill, the House of Representatives on Tuesday passed by voice vote “a reform proposal requiring the Obama administration to submit a report detailing the status of humanitarian, development and reconstruction efforts in Haiti,” according to Devex’s “Obama’s Foreign Aid Reform” blog. Next, the Senate will consider the proposal (Mungcal, 5/11).

U.N. Expects New Cholera Outbreak In Haiti

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and PAHO said Wednesday that humanitarian workers in Haiti are preparing for new cholera outbreaks during the country’s rainy season, Reuters reports. “A huge U.N.-led humanitarian operation has helped to reduce the fatality rate from the cholera epidemic from peaks last year when dozens of sick patients were dying every day. But downpours heralding this year’s rainy season appear to have led to increased cholera cases again in some areas, prompting fears of fresh outbreaks of the deadly diarrheal disease that is spread by contaminated water and food,” the news service writes (Delva, 5/11).

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