Haiti’s government outlines recovery plan at international donor conference
- Length: 4:36 minutes (4.21 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
Today world leaders gathered in New York to outline the next steps for the recovery efforts in Haiti and call for an increase in financial assistance to the devastated country. UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon opened the donor conference by outlining the goal of the day.
"Today, we will rise in solidarity with Haiti. By the end of this day, I'm confident we will truly have helped Haiti along the road to a new and better future."
The January 12th magnitude 7 quake killed an estimated 230,000 and injured some 300,000. More than 1 million are homeless and thousands of commercial buildings are destroyed. Speaking at today’s conference, President Rene Preval said the people of Haiti express their deep gratitude for the international response to the crisis.
"This is an opportunity to say thank you to friendly countries who have rapidly mobilized resources to help us. First, our neighbors who were there hours following the earthquake with humanitarian logistics. Words of equal gratitude to the citizens and the governments of those countries who are far away, geographically, historically, who despite this sent large amounts of humanitarian assistance, emergency responders, trucks with tons of material, medicine, water and food. The Haitian people, historically an open people, who have paid in blood the price of fighting for the defense of human dignity, feel moved by the this solidarity and compassion expressed by the whole word."
The emphasis of the conference was on securing vital donations for recovery, which the UN has said have decreased recently.
Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellarive presented a government action plan to outline how the funds would be used. The Plan divides recovery into three time stages. The first is the emergency period, which focuses on accommodating Haiti's homeless, providing food and medical needs and preparing for the coming Hurricane season; second, is the implementation period, which will focus on economic growth and job creation; and the third is a ten to twenty year period in which the country will rebuild to become self sufficient.
Prime Minister Bellarive focused on the second stage of the plan, to take place over the next 18 months. This is Bellarive speaking through an interpreter:
"To implement this we need massive job creation. The next few months will focus on high labor intensive industries, agricultural infrastructure, building, clean up of devastated areas. We'll have to find ways to get these jobs out to people to train them, vocational training, relevant training to transform this tragedy into a sustainable economic enterprise."
Bellarive said the country needs about 4 billion dollars during the next 18 months. He also emphasized transparency, a concern OF international donors who point to a history of corruption in Haiti’s government and mismanagement of past aid.
Former President Bill Clinton, who has overseen the United Nations aid mission in Haiti, commended the long term plan, but pointed to the short term needs that still exist.
Haitian President Preval designated Clinton and Prime Minister Bellarive to head up a commission to oversee the recovery efforts. Some have criticized the commission for not having enough Haitian involvement. President Clinton:
"I want to thank the president, my long time friend, President Preval, for asking me and Prime Minister Bellarive to co-chair this interim commission. I would like to explain it to all of you that have questions: it is an interim commission."
Clinton emphasized that it would last 18 months and said he encouraged the input and involvement of Haitians.
Michele Montas represented the Voice of the Voiceless forum, which brings the perspectives of Haitians not included in the conference in an official capacity.
"There is a strong demand for an end to exclusion. The exercise was an opportunity for people to express their views often for the first time on issues of concern to their communities and to themselves as individual citizens. Reconstruction package should package all Haitians regardless of their status and location."
According to the country’s post disaster needs assessment damage from the earthquake was nearly 8 billion dollars, or 120 percent of the country's GDP for 2009.