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Diplomacy in Action

Fast Facts on the U.S. Government's Work in Haiti: Rubble

Fact Sheet
Office of the Haiti Special Coordinator
January 16, 2013


Challenges and Accomplishments

The January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti created an estimated 10 million cubic meters of rubble in 30 seconds―enough to fill dump trucks reaching from Key West, Fla., to Bangor, Maine, and back again if the trucks were parked bumper to bumper. More than two years after the earthquake, significant progress has been made in removing the rubble to clear the way for reconstruction.

  • Overall Progress: The U.N. Development Program (UNDP), which is responsible for coordinating the international community’s rubble-related programming, estimates that at least 7.4 million cubic meters of rubble has been moved through the combined efforts of the Government of Haiti, international community, individual households, and private firms.
  • U.S. Government Progress: As of October 2012 the U.S. Government has funded the removal of more than 2.7 million cubic meters of rubble, or approximately 36 percent of rubble removed. During the first year following the earthquake, the U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), created short-term employment for more than 350,000 people by putting them to work clearing rubble from streets and neighborhoods. As the response has progressed, USAID’s implementing partners have also deployed small and heavy machinery to move the rubble. In line with the Government of Haiti’s priorities and guidelines developed by the international community, they have also focused on rubble recycling and reuse to support the reconstruction process and reduce costs. In total, the U.S. Government has spent more than $100 million for rubble removal through projects funded by USAID and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Looking Ahead

While rubble has been removed from streets throughout earthquake-affected areas, rubble remains an impediment to the reconstruction process in difficult-to-reach, densely populated neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince. As a result, the international community has transitioned the focus of rubble removal to these areas. Notably, the U.S. Government supported this effort through $25 million provided to the multi-donor Haiti Reconstruction Fund for the Debris II project. The recently concluded rubble removal activities with this funding began in October 2011 and have removed over 537,100 cubic meters of debris. In addition to rubble removal, the Debris II program created approximately 13,322 short-term jobs; which exceed the original target of 3,000 jobs.

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