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TIME Examines Haitians’ Concern About Aid, Recovery

“[A]s crucial as the donor news [from last week’s conference in New York] was, many Haitians made homeless by the temblor … have simply tuned out,” TIME reports in an article examining Haitian attitudes to the international reconstruction effort.

“Haitians have waited patiently during the planning phase for reconstructing this Caribbean nation. … Haitians are concerned that aid money will not trickle down to the people but instead be used by the government to take care of its own,” according to the magazine. The article notes Transparency International’s corruption index, which lists Haiti as one of the 10 most corrupt countries in the world.

“Despite this record, the international community has decided to switch gears. Instead of funneling aid through non-governmental organizations, they say they will not bypass the bureaucracy of Port-au-Prince, hoping to strengthen it,” TIME writes, adding that “the Haitian government has committed itself to transparency and Prime Minster Jean-Max Bellerive has agreed to the idea of posting financial documents online.”

“But the feeling at large in Port-au-Prince itself is that, with the Haitian government in charge, all the talk of development is a distant dream, hardly a possible reality for citizens living in makeshift tents awaiting the rainy season,” TIME writes (Desvarieux, 4/3).

In related news, Raymond Joseph, Haiti’s ambassador to the U.S., reiterated the idea that aid should be given directly to the Haitian government in an interview with Foreign Policy that focuses on aid to the country since the quake and the recovery plan.

Of the U.S. aid package, Joseph said, “For the [Haitian] government to operate, it needs some budget support. The U.S. does not usually give budget support. I don’t know what happened this time, but I know some of the money that was pledged was budget support. I don’t know how much; we’ll find out after the government figures are out. We’re looking for $350 million, and I hope we got it all” (Dickinson, 4/2).

Congressional Delegation To Travel To Haiti; Rainy Season Preparation

Meanwhile, The Hill’s “Blog Briefing Room” reports that “Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) will travel as part of a congressional delegation to Haiti on Monday.” Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) will also travel with the senators.

“The lawmakers will visit with Haitian President Rene Preval and tour affected areas. Landrieu and Gillibrand are working on legislation to bolster aid for Haitian orphans,” according to the blog (Fabian, 4/3).

As the rainy season in Haiti draws near, the Washington Post looks at efforts on the ground to prepare. “Confronted with the challenge of destructive rains and floods, international relief agencies have launched an ambitious logistical operation … They hope to carve new drainage outlets in the most vulnerable of the hundreds of camps in this city by mid-April and to relocate people living in the most precariously perched tents,” the newspaper writes.

“‘The rainy season is a freight train headed right at us,’ said Anthony Banbury, who until recently was the acting second-in-command at the U.N. mission in Port-au-Prince. ‘We’re in a race against time, and we can’t lose a day,'” the newspaper reports.

The article outlines the challenges associated with relocating tent city inhabitants, which include estimating the number of people who need new shelter and getting them out of the current camps (Roig-Franzia, 4/4).

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