Leading Congressional Voices Urge Renewed Efforts To Help Haiti

Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Haiti Earthquake - Four Years later.
The Haitian government and the UN Operations have teamed up with project 16/6 - a rebuilding initiative that includes construction training programs. Photo: Logan Abassi/MINUSTAH

News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Sun. Jan. 12, 2013: As Haiti today marked four years since the horrific earthquake of 2010, five Members of Congress insist it is time to renew efforts to rebuild Haiti by insisting on accountability, transparency, and good governance.

United States Representatives Yvette Clarke, John Conyers, Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, and Frederica S. Wilson said they reaffirm their commitment to rebuilding and restoring Haiti and to building the foundation for equitable and sustainable development for the Haitian people even as they pause to honor those affected and salute the strength and resilience of the Haitian people.

They noted that serious challenges, including displacement, food insecurity, and cholera, remain and insisted US authorities can do better.

According to a report by the Government Accountability Office, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) had—as of June 2013—obligated only 52 percent and disbursed just 35 percent of the funding for Haiti reconstruction from the 2010 Supplemental Appropriations Act.

To address these concerns, the US House of Representatives recently passed bipartisan legislation introduced by Congresswoman Barbara Lee and members of the CBC Haiti Task Force, the Assessing Progress in Haiti Act, which requires the State Department to provide detailed progress reports every six months through September 30, 2016.

“We encourage our colleagues in the Senate to pass this important bill,” the five congressmembers added.

United Nations officials meanwhile urged the international community to increase aid to Haiti on the fourth anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck the impoverished country, as well as pledging the Organization’s ongoing solidarity with the Haitian people and Government.

“Haiti remains extremely vulnerable on many fronts,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a message delivered on Friday to UN staff in Port au Prince, the capital, by his Special Representative Sandra Honoré. “145,000 people continue to live in make-shift camps. The country is structurally exposed to recurrent food crises. Haiti has the lowest level of water and sanitation coverage in the Americas.”