Haiti: Reconstruction at a Standstill

Escrito por Rose Ana Berbeo

miércoles, 12 de enero de 2011

Port-au-Prince (Prensa Latina) On the first anniversary of the earthquake that rocked most of Haiti, the reconstruction plan for this impoverished country seems to be at a standstill.

  The 7.3-magnitude quake devastated the capital and four neighboring cities, killed 250,000 people and left 1.3 million homeless or displaced.

More than 60 percent of the country’s infrastructure was destroyed, some 200,000 homes were destroyed, and losses were estimated at 6.8 billion, the equivalent of 120 percent of the country’s 2008 gross domestic product, according to official figures.

At the time, the international community began promising funds and supplies to collaborate in rebuilding the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

But the close to 10 billion dollars promised is being paid out in tiny amounts, and are not being administrated by those affected, who are the most appropriate people for distributing the funds: the Haitians themselves.

For just the first two years following the quake, five billion USD was approved, but only 1.2 billion have been paid, according to local reports. 0

The United States, which made the largest commitments for reconstruction, postponed delivery of the funds until the end of 2010, and only authorized one-tenth of the promised amount.

While international aid is constant, the slowness with which it is trickling in has obstructed construction plans.

To date, only five percent of the rubble has been cleared, and according to the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the task could take 10 years.

According to a study by those organizations, at least 300 medium-size trucks would need to work seven days per week for 10 years to finish that work.

Meanwhile, the improvised refugee camps set up in public areas to house more than one million left homeless by the quake seem to be unchanging and with terrible sanitary conditions.

In that sense, children are among the most negatively affected, given that more than 800,000 children are crowded under the tents and tarps that have served as shelter for the last year.

Many agree that the biggest obstacle facing reconstruction is the lack of leadership by the Haitian government in distributing funds.

The capital provided by other administrations and international agencies is distributed by their representatives, and almost never taking into account the needs set out by the Haitian government.

In order revive reconstruction, it is imperative to allocate a sufficient labor force, equipment and money to meet the real priorities of the Haitian people, and to allow them to direct their own process of recuperation.

hr/sc/rlo/rab

Modificado el ( miércoles, 12 de enero de 2011 )

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