SIX months on from the Haiti earthquake a lot of questions are being asked about the progress with reconstruction and rehabilitation; several recent media reports have suggested that very little has been achieved thus far. Perhaps that is why the Prime Minster of Haiti, Jean-Max Bellerive, and US former President Bill Clinton contributed an article to the New York Times yesterday. They are joint-chairman of the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Committee which is charged with co-ordinating the efforts of government, non-government organisations (charities, humanitarian agencies) and business. Their progress report made sombre reading: millions of people still require shelter and access to reliable supplies of electricity and water as well as health care and education. The hurricane season has started and might well set back some of the progress already made. The Committee chaired by M. Bellerive and Bill Clinton is modelled on a similar organisation established in Indonesia to deal with the post-tsunami crisis in 2004. However the scale of devastations and dislocation in Haiti is much greater.

Perhaps the most disturbing information in the article was that only just over 10 per cent of the 5.3 billion dollars pledged by UN members states has actually been received in Haiti. The co-chairmen make the obvious point that efficient planning of relief work cannot take place unless pledges are fulfilled. The UN should issue a list of promises made and whether they have been kept.


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