Two years after the Haiti earthquake on January 12, 2010 — which killed 316,000, injured 300,000 more, left one million homeless, and destroyed $8 billion in property — most of the billions of dollars pledged to help the island recover can’t be accounted for. And of that which can be, precious little found its way into the hands and mouths of the Haitians themselves.
Some $12 billion was pledged, including $2.75 billion from the United States, $650 million from the European Union, and the balance from 35 other countries.
Much of the U.S. government’s aid was funneled through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which reported that it helped build a 10-megawatt power plant and repaired and upgraded five electric power substations in Port-au-Prince, provided some $10 million in financing for 46 “micro financial institutions and financial cooperatives” and another 7,600 loans to coffee, cocoa, and mango growers. USAID rebuilt roads, irrigation systems, and storage and processing facilities, while offering “improved seeds, fertilizer and technologies to more than 9,700 farmers [who] have increased rice yields by 64 percent, corn yields by 338 percent, bean crops by 97 percent, and plantain outputs by 21 percent for beneficiary farmers.”
According to the USAID report, the agency built 600 semi-permanent furnished classrooms, which allowed some 60,000 students to return to school after the earthquake. It also helped build a temporary Parliament building to replace the one destroyed by the earthquake.
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Photo: AP Images