Haiti, 18 Months After Quake: Successes and Challenges in Aid Delivery

Local men work together to rebuild a school destroyed in the earthquake. The current political stalemate is causing delay in aid delivery for post-quake reconstruction work in Haiti. Photo by: Marco Dormino / UN

Post-quake reconstruction work in Haiti has made gains, but the current political stalemate is causing delay in aid delivery, according to a report by a U.N. advisory group chronicling the results of its four-day mission to the Caribbean nation.

The visit came a year after the Economic and Social Council’s Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti’s first, which took place six months after a powerful earthquake killed and displaced tens of thousands of people in the Western Hemisphere’s most impoverished country.

The 13-member group noted successes in debris removal, resettlement of displaced people and cholera fight. But aid coordination remains a problem, it said in the report.

“It has become particularly urgent in view of the greater number of development partners providing aid to Haiti and the resources committed to the reconstruction process,” the group said, as quoted by the U.N. News Service. “Almost all of the interlocutors of the group held the view that aid is still not sufficiently coordinated, which creates duplication and reduces the effectiveness of interventions.”

Another problem: the ongoing struggle between Haitian President Michel Martelly and parliament on confirming a new prime minister.

“[T]he inability of political actors to find a rapid solution to this stalemate is having detrimental consequences on international assistance, on Haiti’s prospects for development, and most importantly, on its people,” said Keith Morrill, Canada’s representative to the United Nations, who led the group.

The panel backs a continued, strong U.N. presence on the ground but urges the global body to “pool the resources of United Nations entities on the ground, including in the provinces, and encourage all development partners to increase their share of the number of staff posted outside of Port-au-Prince, thereby increasing local capacities and supporting decentralization efforts.”

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    Eliza Villarino

    Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.