Hate to say it – but OxFam is correct in several key aspects. Almost none of the major infrastructure projects needed to provide a basis for Reconstruction have started. The cholera epidemic’s spread is almost totally due to inaction in clearing the rubble, and thus the drains which would have moved the polluted water away from the camps and towns – instead of forming fetid lakes. This isn’t all a failure of the IHRC – a good bit of this falls on the International community infighting preventing any effective means of launching projects. There also seems to be a lack of overall planning relative to some sort of priority step by step Project Plan of what needs to be done in what order.
All of which isn’t to negate the fact that the Preval controlled segment of the Haitian Government has been problematic, at best in resisting, and in some cases outright blocking efforts to perform reconstruction.
The bad news is, things like building Wastewater Plants, municipal water systems, Power Plants, roads, and other core infrastructure such as ports – take years of construction work. There seems to be a lot of looking for short term fixes, but very little focus on building sustainable systems. Clinton neither has the power or authority to do that by himself as it will result in tearing down large segments of the Port au Prince region and rebuilding it from scratch requiring things like “eminent domain” and an ability to change and fix local laws.
Because there is no surviving septic system or drain system in portions of the Port au Prince area, residents of the tent cities commonly dump dirty water from dishes or personal washing on the ground, spreading cholera.
I’ve heard in the news that Clinton doesn’t want to make the same mistake he made in the way he removed Aristide. I think the mistake was removing ONLY Aristide, and not his enablers.
For a more detailed coverage of what Oxfam is saying – go here.
Reconstruction has barely begun in Haiti a year after its catastrophic earthquake, a leading international charity said on Wednesday in a report sharply critical of a recovery commission led by former President Bill Clinton.
There was a tremendous outpouring of support from around the world after the January 12 quake that devastated much of the poor Caribbean country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, killing about a quarter of a million people and leaving more than a million homeless.
But the report by UK-based Oxfam, while acknowledging that disaster recovery can be slow even in developed countries, said efforts in Haiti had been paralyzed by a lack of leadership from the Haitian government and the international community.
“As Haitians prepare for the first anniversary of the earthquake, close to one million people are reportedly still displaced. Less than 5 percent of the rubble has been cleared, only 15 percent of the temporary housing that is needed has been built and relatively few permanent water and sanitation facilities have been constructed,” the report said.
Money is part of the problem, Oxfam said. The report cited U.N. figures showing that less than 45 percent of the $2.1 billion pledged for Haiti’s reconstruction during 2010 at an international donor conference in New York in March had actually been disbursed.
More importantly, however, the report said a reconstruction commission chaired by Clinton and Haiti’s Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive had fallen short in many crucial areas.
“So far, the commission has failed to live up to its mandate,” it said. “The commission is a key element for reconstruction and it must cut through the quagmire of indecision and delay.”
Set up as the main disaster management body in April, the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) was supposed to improve coordination of international aid projects, build state capacity for their implementation and bring donors and government actors together to lead the reconstruction.
The commission has met only a few times since it was formed, however, and the report said it was plagued by “often contradictory policies and priorities” and needed to do far more to adequately consult and communicate its role and decisions to the Haitian people.
In one glaring example of poor planning, the report said money had been made available for temporary housing, but almost no funds had been allocated for rubble removal. That’s despite the fact that the quake, which destroyed 105,000 homes and damaged 208,000, left 20 million cubic meters of rubble.
Without debris removal, housing construction cannot begin in earnest and Oxfam said the volume of quake rubble in Haiti could fill enough dump trucks, parked bumper to bumper, to reach more than halfway around the globe.
“Major stakeholders, including Bill Clinton, should urgently review the workings of the IHRC and speed up delivery of its mandate,” the Oxfam report said.
United Nations and Haitian government officials have called repeatedly for patience with reconstruction, and Oxfam said countless lives had been saved thanks to humanitarian efforts to provide water, sanitation, shelter, food and other vital assistance to millions of people affected by the earthquake.
In the short term, however, Oxfam said it was difficult to be optimistic about progress in the shattered nation.
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