Haiti, Two Years Later: Slow Progress But You Can Help

Two years ago today, on January 12, 2010, the worst earthquake in 200 years – 7.0 in magnitude – struck less than ten miles from the Caribbean city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The initial quake was later followed by twelve aftershocks greater than magnitude 5.0.

The quake killed more than 200,000 and left 1.5 million homeless.

Around the world, ordinary people and governments sought to help. So far, according to USA Today, these are the top givers:

* $3.3 billion – United States
* $940 million – Venezuela
* $634 million – European Commission

But What Is The Reality Of Life In Haiti Today?

It’s true that many nonprofits and other agencies have been on the ground, rebuilding, providing supplies, and helping to re-create the economy.

But meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Haitians still live in miserable conditions and nearly half of $4.5 billion pledged by governments for reconstruction has yet to be disbursed.

Slow Progress

From USA Today:

“There’s been a remarkable lack of progress,” says Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, which has followed Haiti’s recovery.

As Haiti today observes the second anniversary of a disaster that leveled 300,000 buildings and left its economy and government in ruins, half a million people still live in tents, the United Nations reports.

Few have access to water, sanitation and other basic services, 60% are jobless and the world’s largest cholera outbreak has killed 7,000 people and infected 500,000 more, the U.N. and aid groups say.

Now, money is running short. “Funding is not coming in as before and that is becoming a challenge,” says Francoise Gruloos-Ackermans, UNICEF Haiti representative.

The slow progress comes despite promises by the international community that the chronically poor nation with tremendous needs before the disaster would be rebuilt better than before. Since the earthquake, governments and international agencies have pledged $8.4 billion for humanitarian, recovery and development efforts ó $4.5 billion of it for rebuilding.

The U.S. has disbursed 85% of $1.45 billion pledged for humanitarian relief and pledged $1.8 billion for recovery and development, 37% of which has been disbursed, U.N. figures show. Weisbrot says governments did not pledge enough aid for reconstruction, estimated to cost more than $10 billion, and money that has been pledged isn’t being doled out fast enough.

But There Is Good News

Despite the slow pace, funds are slowly being allocated as efforts shift from short-term humanitarian needs to long-term reconstruction: creating more jobs by helping small businesses, removing debris, preparing the country for future disasters and helping the Haitian government become a functioning body.

To provide just one example, as first reported in USA Today, Beth Hogan, director of the Haiti Task Team for U.S. Agency for International Development says U.S. funds have provided temporary shelters for more than 300,000 families and created 17,000 jobs.

And here’s something you can do now.

Take Action!

Care2 has been working with nonprofit partner BRAC delivering signatures to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calling on the U.N. to support programs to redevelop Haitiís environment.

Even before the devastating earthquake, millions in Haiti lived in poverty. BRAC is now working with families to provide them information about quality seeds, fertilizer and planting methods that will help them bring their families out of poverty. One pilot nursery is teaching children and adults how to plant and care for papaya, mango, and timber trees.

You can help reforest Haiti, by joining the 15,000 that have signed the petition and tell the U.N. that we need to bring more programs like this to the region.

And thank you.

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Photo Credit: All Hands Volunteers

20 comments

Victoria Pitchford
Vicky P4 years ago

a lot of that money probably went into the wrong pockets

KS Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Chad A.
Chad Anderson4 years ago

As usual, refer to the excellent coverage of Haiti on Democracy Now, which has had several good pieces recently.

Joy Wong
Joy Wong4 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Audrey B.
Audrey B4 years ago

It is the same story, GREED. I am sorry these people did not get any of the money to rebuild, but we really need to stay out of it. We had good intentions. Now it is time to help people in the USA rebuild our economy. Maybe in years to come we can try to help out again, when we are on our own feet and going strong again.
Look around people alot of homeless right here. Help starts at home. We need jobs to feed and shelter our families.

Audrey B.
Audrey B4 years ago

It is the same story, GREED. I am sorry these people did not get any of the money to rebuild, but we really need to stay out of it. We had good intentions. Now it is time to help people in the USA rebuild our economy. Maybe in years to come we can try to help out again, when we are on our own feet and going strong again.
Look around people alot of homeless right here. Help starts at home. We need jobs to feet and shelter our families.

Luvenia V.
Luvenia V4 years ago

Greed, once again has reared its ugly head and again MILLIONS pay for it. Please take the time to watch the video and understand that there is NO reason these people are still suffering, NOT ONE!! Ask yourself what kind of people would steal from the dead and the dying and know that these are the kind of people we are putting in control of OUR country.

http://www.brasschecktv.com/videos/haiti/the-haitian-earthquake-gold-rush.html

It turns out that almost none of the money that the general public thought was going to Haiti actually went directly to Haiti. The international community chose to bypass the Haitian people, Haitian non-governmental organizations and the government of Haiti. Funds were instead diverted to other governments, international NGOs, and private companies.
Despite this near total lack of control of the money by Haitians, if history is an indication, it is quite likely that the failures will ultimately be blamed on the Haitians themselves in a “blame the victim” reaction.
Haitians ask the same question as many around the world “Where did the money go?”

Silvia van der Zande

It is always the same story !! Where did the money go !!?? I have lived in Hiati for a year myself and already in 1991 the situation was terrible so after the earthquake things got much and much worse. Millions of dollars were donated from all over the world. In a year time with this money big changes should have been made and what I hear from friends over there is that almost everything is still the same ! This happens over and over again !!! This is such a rotten world !
A water treatment plant should be build to make drinkable water out of sea water, buidlings should be build with earthquake resistent foundations, the country should be reforested....

Will Rogers
Will Rogers4 years ago

Though billions have been donated to Haiti, less than 100 million dollars has reached the ground, the Charity workers there are now rich as are all the people involved in the Haiti charities, they claim that most of the money disappeared! Some as wages and some as expenses. This is all a big scam because the people are still eating mudpies (literally) and the charity workers are driving round in fancy 4 wheeled drive cars, getting 6 and 7 figure salaries. I would not send them a penny. I believe in direct charity where you give a family money ...not schools, not community centres or work units or chickens or opportunities, give them money, guilt free cash so they can buy what THEY like, and not what we think they should have. Charity shouldn't have to be demeaning or come with conditions. And  Unless you're giving it to the Haitians you are giving it to thieves. That's why there has been no progress from the Billions that's been given to them

NO NO NEWS AM Rumbak
ANA MARIJA R4 years ago

:(( Thank you for the info...