printable banner

U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Haiti: From Rescue and Relief to Reconstruction

Fact Sheet
January 8, 2011


The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010 was the most powerful earthquake to strike the country in 200 years. Killing more than 230,000 people, injuring more than 300,000 others, and with an economic impact that resulted in infrastructure damages equal to 120 percent of Haiti’s gross domestic product, it was the worst natural disaster in the Western Hemisphere. In the immediate aftermath, President Barack Obama called on the United States Agency for International Development to lead a "swift, coordinated, and aggressive response" effort to include both civilian and military disaster assistance.

Over the past year, the U.S. Government has provided Haiti with relief and recovery assistance, working to lay the foundation for long-term sustainable development for a stable more prosperous Haiti.


Under the leadership of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United States mobilized assets in response to the earthquake across the government, including from USAID and the Departments of State (DOS), Defense, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services and Treasury. Over the course of the past year, the U.S. government has provided more than $1 billion in humanitarian assistance to Haiti. The U.S. Government has worked with the national and local Haitian government, civil society, private sector, and non-governmental partners to meet the most urgent needs.

Following the earthquake, the U.S. Government:

  • Deployed seven urban search and rescue teams from USAID (Fairfax and California) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) who took part an international rescue effort that saved more than 130 people.
  • The State Department signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Haiti, permitting DOD to assist the Government of Haiti to manage the airport, tripling its pre-earthquake capacity and prioritizing the most needed emergency assets.
  • Department of Health and Human Services’ Disaster Medical Assistance Teams saw more than 31,000 patients and performed hundreds of surgeries.
  • Department of Defense (DOD) medical teams aboard the USNS Comfort provided life-saving treatment for hundreds of the most critically injured trauma victims including performing more than 840 surgeries.
  • Since the earthquake, the U.S. government, working with the UN World Food Program and other partners, provided food for 3.5 million people—the largest emergency urban food distribution in history—and continues to target 1.9 million of the most vulnerable with food assistance.
  • The U.S. Government and international partners provided basic shelter materials to 1.5 million people before the start of the rainy season in May.
  • Since the earthquake, the U.S. Government has supported the immunization of more than 1 million Haitians against highly communicable disease including polio and diphtheria.
  • With partners, the U.S. government provided  safe drinking water for up to 1.3 million  people daily following the earthquake, many  of whom lacked access to clean water prior to  the earthquake.
  • In addition, the President called upon former  Presidents Clinton and Bush to lead the effort  to mobilize private sector donations for Haiti.  American citizens and corporations showed  their generosity, pledging a reported $1.4  billion. One of every two U.S. households contributed in some way.

The U.S. Government has worked closely with the Government of Haiti and international partners in response to the cholera outbreak.

  • Building upon work that began immediately following the earthquake, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, worked with the Haitian National Laboratory to identify the bacteria as cholera and begin to implement a robust response.
  • CDC and USAID, together with the Ministry of Health and the Pan American Health Organization set up a Crisis Center in Port-au-Prince to ensure a coordinated effort to the outbreak.
  • The U.S. Government has provided expertise and more than $40 million in assistance. This money has funded the establishment of more than 30 cholera treatment facilities with more than 1,100 beds. The U.S. Government is also funding more than 115 oral rehydration posts out of a total 282 established throughout Haiti.
  • The U.S. Government has delivered 3.1 million oral rehydration sachets (benefitting around 310,000 people); 260,000 liters of IV fluids (to treat 32,500 people); more than 15 million aquatabs (to help 750,000 people); and 30 metric tons of chlorine, sufficient to treat the municipal water system for three months.


While meeting life-saving and life-sustaining needs, the U.S. Government has also focused on laying the foundation for long-term sustainable development.

This includes: supporting the establishment of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC), collaborating with implementing partners, and reprogramming more than $400 million of pre-earthquake assistance to lay the foundation in support of Haiti’s Action Plan for Recovery and Reconstruction. 

  • Investing in economic recovery activity including programs that have employed more than 350,000 people, about half of whom are women, in short-term jobs, injecting more than $19 million into the local economy. Jobs have included rubble removal, hurricane preparedness, and building  assessments.
  • Clearing more than 1.2 million cubic  meters of rubble from Government  of Haiti prioritized areas. By  comparison, it took more than two  and a half years to clear 1 million  cubic meters rubble after the  Tsunami in Indonesia.
  • Investing more than $100 million for  emergency and transitional shelter,  plastic sheeting, the structural  engineering assessment, and  housing repairs. This includes  construction of more than 12,000  transitional shelters, safer shelter designed to last up to three years, by the end of 2010 - sufficient to house almost 60,000 Haitians; and working with the Government of Haiti, the World Bank and other partners to complete the assessment of more than 380,000 buildings, many by Haitians trained for the job, and 54 percent have been deemed safe for occupancy. Twenty five percent of the buildings assessed require minimal work that the U.S. government is supporting, to make them safe for occupancy. The U.S. government has completed repairs for more than 1,800 households or around 9,000 people. Assessment and construction projects have included a training element that provides Haitians with the skills necessary to advance in the construction industry.
  • Supporting the agriculture sector, from which more than 60 percent of Haitians derive income, to increase crop production by 75 percent in some areas of intervention by providing inputs such as fertilizers, seeds and tools, as well as technical assistance around new techniques and more efficient water use.
  • Strengthening the Haitian National Police (HNP) by: providing equipment, uniforms, hygiene supplies, classroom supplies, and food to the training academy in support of the HNP’s goal of building a trained force of 14,000 police by 2012; deploying six active Haitian-American, NYPD officers to support the judicial police with their investigative techniques, monitor activities in the IDP camps, and propose training needs for existing HNP officers, to include senior management; and expanding support to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence including support for victims.
  • Working with the Government of Haiti and international partners to operationalize the IHRC, co-chaired by Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive and President Bill Clinton, to ensure coordination in the Haitian-led rebuilding process.
  • To date the IHRC has approved 14 U.S. government-funded projects worth more than $330 million in the areas of shelter, economic development including credit guarantees for small businesses, debris removal, and the reintegration of disabled persons.
  • Increasing bilateral and multilateral engagement including through the signing of three Memoranda of Understanding between:
    • The U.S. Government, the Government of Haiti and the Government of France for a new hospital facility;
    • The U.S. Government, the Government of Haiti, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation and the textile company Sae-A to explore the possibility of investing in an industrial park to take advantage of trade preference laws and create thousands of jobs; and
    • The U.S. Government, the Government of Haiti, the IDB, and the Korean textile company Hansoll for the exploration of a possible industrial park.

The U.S. Government provided $14 million to support the November 28 elections. This included:

  • Supporting a long-term international election observation mission from the Organization of the American States and the Caribbean Community; contributing $5 million to the UNDP-managed elections trust fund to purchase election material including ballots and ballot boxes; developing training materials for polling center and station staff; providing technical assistance for nationwide civic and voter education campaign; supporting nonpartisan action groups for voter education, mobilization, and the deploying over 5,000 election day observers; providing technical assistance to political parties in poll watching, debates, and election dispute resolution.


The U.S. Government pledged $1.15 billion in new money towards reconstruction consistent with the Action Plan for National Recovery and Development for Haiti, helping Haiti realize a stable and more prosperous future. To date, the U.S. government has disbursed more than $320 million of new money to provide Inter-American Development Bank debt relief freeing up money for the Government of Haiti to meet their highest and most urgent priorities. This allows the Government of Haiti to use its resources to: fund projects through the Haiti Reconstruction Fund (HRF) to support the construction and repair of houses targeted to benefit 50,000 people; remove rubble in critical areas of Port-au-Prince; establish a partial credit guarantee fund to help finance private sector activity; provide education assistance; and budget support.

U.S. Government investment will follow a comprehensive strategy drafted in partnership with the Government of Haiti and in coordination with other donors. Investments will work through the IHRC and will be consistent with the following:

The U.S. Government strategy consists of investments four focus areas or "pillars" critical to achieving economic growth and stability:

  • Infrastructure and Energy including:
    • Investing in an electricity sector that is reliable and financially viable. This includes: rehabilitation of high-priority energy infrastructure and generation facilities; modernizing the sector by improving governance, strengthening institutional capacities, and attracting private sector participation. Given the scale Haiti’s needs, the U.S. Government investment will be coordinated with other donors, the Government of Haiti, and the private sector.
    • Investment in infrastructure for the agricultural and industrial sectors for road and port development to help expand economic activity beyond Port-au-Prince, including improving rural farm-to-market feeder roads and bridges to reduce transportation costs and loss of value of agricultural products en route to local or export markets.
  • Food and Economic Security
    • Integrating agricultural assistance with natural resource management, such as rebuilding canals and strengthening local farmers’ governance of water use. These investments in natural resource management are focused on the protection and improvement of yields in high-priority fertile plains.
    • Support the development of micro, small and medium (MSME) sized enterprises. Fostering and enabling a policy environment for MSME growth; providing technical assistance and professional and vocational training services to MSMEs; and, where appropriate, increasing access to capital for these businesses, which will help increase the number of new jobs created by formal MSMEs.
  • Health and Other Basic Services
    • Developing comprehensive referral networks at the communal and departmental levels. Within the development corridors, the U.S. government will adopt a new system strengthening approach to the provide health services by making investments in the 12 Government of Haiti-designated "communal health referral networks" that fall within the U.S. development corridors. The U.S. Government will invest in all aspects of the network—from facilities to equipment to training to supplies to human resources, including community health workers.
    • Supporting the delivery of a "basic package" of services, including in areas outside the development corridors. For epidemiological, sustainability and humanitarian reasons, the U.S. government will continue to make a core set of investments in service delivery and health systems outside of the development corridors, including targeted interventions for infectious disease as well as interventions to address gender-based violence and child protection.
    • Establishing disability care to support the Government of Haiti. The U.S. Government will expand the disability care to rehabilitate and reintegrate into society persons with disabilities due to the earthquake, while building the capacity of governmental and non-governmental institutions to sustainably and effectively support persons with disabilities in the future.
  • Governance and Rule of Law
    • Investing in the Haitian National Police, Haiti’s sole indigenous security force, to adequately provide for the safety and security Haitians throughout the country. This includes: support for training and recruitment of new officers and in-service learning for mid-to-senior level officers to increase the overall professionalization as well as investment in infrastructure and equipment to enhance the sustainability of the force.
    • Targeting assistance in key areas to strengthen the justice sector and improve access to legal services. This includes: providing equipment and technical assistance to reduce pre-trial detention and to strengthen key criminal justice institutions to manage cases more efficiently, providing free legal assistance to vulnerable populations, and renovating the corrections sector to reinforce prison infrastructure severely damaged by the earthquake and provide additional space to alleviate severe overcrowding.
    • Funding initiatives to increase protection of human rights and vulnerable populations. U.S. Government investments target improvements in the physical security in IDP camps, provision services to victims of violence and human trafficking, and empowering vulnerable populations through economic opportunity and increased awareness.

Back to Top

Do you already have an account on one of these sites? Click the logo to sign in and create your own customized State Department page. Want to learn more? Check out our FAQ!

OpenID is a service that allows you to sign in to many different websites using a single identity. Find out more about OpenID and how to get an OpenID-enabled account.