Donor agencies urged to work closer with Haitians

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti: The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organization of American States (OAS) have urged donor agencies to work closer with Haitian authorities to facilitate recovery efforts in the earthquake-ravaged country.

The appeal from the two organizations coincided with the second anniversary of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck on January 12, 2010, leaving an estimated 300,000 people dead and more than 1.5 million homeless.

Chairman of CARICOM and president of Suriname, Desiré Bouterse, said “heartening progress” had been made re-housing the homeless and clearing thousands of tonnes of rubble. He said, however, that reconstruction and resettlement have been slow.

Bouterse renewed the call for the international community to “make good on its pledges in support of the priorities for Haiti’s redevelopment and reconstruction as defined by the government and people of Haiti.”

With around half a million people still living in tents, OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza said the international community needed to re-focus and re-think its aid coordination efforts, and that there was need for closer collaboration with the Haitian government and other recognised authorities.

“This year, millions of dollars in aid will again be allocated to Haiti by the international community and various agencies. This is an ideal opportunity to re-assess, under Haitian leadership, what has been achieved to date, where the new priorities are, and where we can all do better,” Insulza said. “Aid agencies working in Haiti certainly mean well, but we must all ensure that there is coordination with local and national authorities in the delivery of assistance.”

According to UN data, only six per cent of bilateral aid for recovery projects was channeled through Haitian institutions, and figures indicate that approximately 53 per cent of the US$4.5 billion pledged for recovery programs in 2010-11 had been delivered.

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