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U.S. To Provide $120M For Haitian Rebuilding, Rubble Removal; Haiti Commission Approves 18 Projects Worth $777M

The U.S. on Wednesday announced that it will contribute $120 million to the Haiti Recovery Fund, the New York Times reports. Cheryl Mills, chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, announced the funding during the third meeting of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) (Sontag, 10/6).

“It is not clear” whether the $120 million is coming from previous U.S pledges or congressional funding requests “or when it will be delivered,” the Associated Press notes (Katz, 10/7). “The United States wants $65 million of the funds it will release to go for housing in neighborhoods where quake victims have an opportunity to return home, $25 million for rubble removal and $10 million for an education [reform] program being promoted by the Inter-American Development Bank,” according to the Miami Herald. The U.S. and France have also agreed to rebuild Port-au-Prince’s General University public hospital, the newspaper reports.

Also on Wednesday at the meeting, the IHRC announced that it has approved 18 projects valued at $777 million, the Miami Herald reports. “They included disaster mitigation in the southern part of the country, cash grants to help rebuild 5,000 homes, back-to-school funds to assist 250,000 children, and assistance to help 50,000 girls and women who are victims of violence,” the newspaper writes, adding that the approved projects “were chosen from among 80 that were submitted.” Haitian Prime Minister and IHRC co-chair Jean-Max Bellerive said they complement the Haitian government’s priorities. “But funding gaps remain, demonstrating the ongoing problem of trying to get donor nations to fulfill their pledges,” the Miami Herald notes, adding that “[o]f the $777 million of projects approved, only $458 million worth are actually funded.” 

Former President Bill Clinton, who is also a co-chair of the commission, said donors’ disbursements have risen from 18 to 30 percent in recent weeks, the newspaper reports. “That is a pretty good jump in less than two months … but there is still quite a number of projects still without funding from our last meeting,” he said (Charles, 10/7).

Clinton on Wednesday visited a displaced persons camp in Port-au-Prince as the Clinton Foundation announced that it will donate $500,000 through its Haiti Relief Fund to help run the camp, which houses 55,000 people on what was the Club de Petionville golf course, Agence France-Presse reports.

Clinton “shook hands and spoke with Haitian youths who gathered around him, and sought to reassure desperate quake victims that more relief was on the way, but that building thousands of much-needed new homes would take time. ‘I explained what we’re doing on the housing,’ he said at the camp, run by the J/P Haitian Relief Organization,” AFP writes. “I listened to what they asked for on the food and said we will try to change that and then we talked about the school and the jobs,” he said (10/7).

He also “expressed frustration with the slow delivery of promised funds by donors who have delivered about $732 million of a promised $5.3 billion in funds for 2010-11, along with debt relief,” the AP reports. Clinton said he believes the U.S. “money will be released, and when that happens that will also give a lot of other donors encouragement to raise their money” (10/7). 

In related news, the BBC reports on the conditions in the Haitian camps, which a Refugees International report describes as “appalling” (10/7).

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