The January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti killed an estimated 230,000 people and affected approximately three million others. In FY 2010, the State Department and USAID provided about $700 million in humanitarian funding out of the U.S. Government’s $1.2 billion in Haiti earthquake aid. Additionally, the State Department worked with major creditors through the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative to secure 100 percent debt cancellation for Haiti. As of January 6, 2011, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance had built 13,662 transitional shelters, which should house nearly 70,000 individuals. Shelter, however, is just one component of U.S. efforts to restore normalcy to earthquake survivors. The U.S. Government has also facilitated rubble removal and rebuilding of schools, provided treatment to combat malnutrition, set up clinics in camps and low-income areas, and cash-for-work programs.
In addition to these efforts, the U.S. Government is working to combat the recent outbreak of cholera. Within the first three months of the outbreak, the disease had infected more than 194,000 Haitians and claimed the lives of nearly 3,900 of the infected individuals. While the Haitian Government is leading the charge against cholera, the U.S. Government is coordinating with the international community to deliver life-saving supplies, train Haitian medical staff, and monitor the outbreak. Through USAID, the U.S. Government has supplied 30 metric tons of chlorine to provide the equivalent of nationwide treatment of Haiti’s water utilities for three months; 5.3 million sachets of oral rehydration salts to treat 530,000 cholera patients; and is training almost 10,000 community health workers and hygiene promoters across the country.
While working to provide short-term recovery, the U.S. Government is also designing investments in agriculture and infrastructure projects that will reduce food insecurity and boost Haiti’s prospects for long-term economic growth. USAID will implement U.S. Government programs, designed in consultation with the Government of Haiti, to support long-term agricultural sector growth by increasing agricultural productivity, stabilizing watersheds, and strengthening agricultural markets. Through the Department of State, the U.S. Government has collaborated with the Government of Haiti, the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, the Inter-American Development Bank, and a globally competitive textile firm to create a new 623-acre industrial park in the northern region of Haiti that will directly employ 20,000 Haitians in its first phase. The Department of State and USAID are partnering with Haiti to transition from humanitarian to long-term development work.
A worker in Haiti moves plywood past a mural depicting transitional shelters at a USAID partner transitional shelter production site. USAID