Haiti quake – Three years on!

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Haiti quake – three years on. Where did the money Go?

Public donors pledged $9.5 billion in relief and recovery aid to Haiti for 2010 to 2012. About $5.9 billion had been disbursed by the end of September, though disbursed does not always mean spent. Figures do not include money – at least $1.5 billion – spent by private groups, including the Swedish based group I worked for over there – Star of Hope.

$2.2 billion has been used for humanitarian aid, and $1.4 billion on transportation, health, education, water and sanitation.

Ambitious projects are stuck on drawing boards or have been held up by land and ideological disputes, logistical and contracting problems, staffing shortages and even weather.

350,000 people still live in tents and only a fraction of the money pledged for permanent housing has been used. The rubble has finally been cleared, but building permanent homes has taken a back seat to other matters.

And then there was the simple and shameful failure of global donors to meet their promises to deliver money and aid.

The cholera outbreak that started ten months after the earthquake did not help either. A recently announced 10-year and $2.2 billion effort to rid Haiti and the Dominican Republic of cholera by improving water and sanitation will require close coordination among the Haitian government, the United Nations, United States and other partners.

The people working for the recovery process ask for patient. Things take times in underdeveloped and poor country as Haiti. The institutions were weak or nonexistent before the quake, and nearly every ministry was flattened by the quake, killing 20 percent of Haiti’s civil servants.

But schools are getting rebuilt. New businesses and factories are starting up and jobs are getting created.

I have seen most of when I was there several times after the quake: the rubble, the pain, the suffering, people dying in cholera, streets fights for survival and so much more…

But I have also seen the spirit to come back again. I have seen the parents doing its best for putting food on the table. I have seen the sparkle in the eyes of the children trying to learn their ABC and 123. And I have seen the hope for a better future tomorrow. But it is and will be struggle for the coming years.