It was just before 5 p.m. local time on a Tuesday when disaster struck the most impoverished Caribbean nation. The images remain vivid: Port-au-Prince in ruins, tens of thousands homeless, aid workers scrambling to help others and themselves.
Today, almost three years after the quake, the work to rebuild Haiti continues. As this recently uploaded video by the World Bank indicates, more than a million people displaced by the temblor have resettled into permanent homes. Still, 360,000 live in camps.
Devex has been covering international relief and development challenges and successes in Haiti closely over the past few years, and we’ll continue to do so in the days ahead.
As we observe the third quake anniversary on Jan. 12, here are a few pieces of information about the aid community’s work.
The Haiti earthquake proved particularly memorable for Rajiv Shah. One of his first assignments after taking charge of the U.S. Agency for International Development was to oversee U.S. relief efforts together with Cheryl Mills and her colleagues at the State Department.
The United States has pledged more than $3.8 billion in aid – excluding debt relief – so far, disbursing $2.25 billion, according to data from the U.N. Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti. Other leading donors include Canada and Spain, which have disbursed $684.1 million and $414.8 million, respectively.
Apart from the United States and Canada, by the way, Venezuela has pledged the most aid, with nearly $1.2 billion – it has only disbursed $230.9 million so far, though.
Among multilateral institutions, the Inter-American Development Bank, European Commission and World Bank have been the most generous, collecting almost $1.2 billion in total.
Over the last three years, Haiti needed $3.86 billion to rebuild, the United Nations estimates. And though donors pledged $4.46 billion for the 2010-2012 period, they only committed $2.17 billion and disbursed $2.16 billion.
The three sectors that needed the most programmable cash through 2012 were physical reconstruction, education and health. The three that garnered the most pledges were transport, education and health.
On Dec. 28, Paul Farmer assumed a new role, albeit one that, like many of his previous assignments, took him back to Haiti, a place that inspired years ago to found Partners in Health with Thomas J. White, Todd McCormack and Jim Yong Kim, the current World Bank president.
As the U.N. special adviser for community-based medicine and lessons from Haiti, Farmer now helps galvanize support for the elimination of cholera and compile lessons learned from international engagement here that may be applied elsewhere.
Farmer has been working closely with Bill Clinton, the former U.S. president, who served as U.N. special envoy for Haiti even before the earthquake struck. Clinton co-chaired the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, which coordinated and monitored aid flows until late last year. He and another former U.S. president, George W. Bush, joined forces to fundraise for Haiti quake victims at the request of U.S. President Barack Obama. (The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund ended operations on Dec. 31, 2012).
The Haiti Reconstruction Fund, as well, will use CAED to prioritize funding requests, the fund’s manager, Josef Leitmann, has indicated. As of November, the multidonor trust fund had to still allocate $119 million.
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.