Top Story of the Week: In Haiti, A 'Stalled' Recovery

On Jan. 12, scores of lives were lost and infrastructure destroyed by the massive earthquake that struck Haiti. Six months later, the tiny Caribbean nation remains trapped in chaos, with little signs of recovery.

Where does the blame lie?

Some say the flow of aid has been too slow. In March, donors pledged to contribute some USD10 billion to support Haiti’s reconstruction efforts, USD2.5 billion of which is expected to be provided by the end of 2010. However, through June 30, only about 10 percent of the committed money for this year has so far been released, according to data compiled by the office of former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

Canada maintains that reconstruction in the quake-hit nation is making progress. Rebuilding Haiti is a long-term task, which will take at least 10 years, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon said. Donors, he added, are starting to honor pledges made in March, and contributions are flowing to the multi-donor Haiti Reconstruction Fund.

Haitian President Rene Preval and his government are also being blamed for the nation’s sluggish rehabilitation. A report put together by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee notes that the nation’s rehabilitation process has “stalled.”

“As the sense of immediate crisis has subsided, so has the sense of urgency to take bold action – the ‘reimagination of Haiti’ hoped for months ago – and the commitment to prevent a return to the dysfunctional, unsustainable ways of life past,” The Vancouver Sun quoted the report.

Non-governmental organizations are also said to be hampering the nation’s recovery. Officials of the Caribbean Community have raised their concern on “the unwillingness of the resource-rich non-governmental organizations (NGOs) active on the ground to align and co-ordinate their operations with the priorities of the government of Haiti,” CBC News reports.

Six months from now, experts still don’t foresee things turning around for Haiti.

Erik Johnson, head of humanitarian response for DanChurchAid, expects people to still be living in camps. United Nations humanitarian spokesman Imogen Wall, in turn, said, “It will take time to get 1.5 million people back into the kind of long-term living arrangements that they want and need.”

The international community, by all means, can prove them wrong.

About the author

  • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.