More information:2010 Earthquake in Haiti
Today, State Department Counselor Cheryl Mills and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah provided an update on efforts in Haiti six months following the January 12 earthquake.
Counselor Mills said, "I just want to start out just by kind of putting us back in context... Let's just first remind ourselves that on January 12th -- well, one, we remember where we were all and how challenging that moment was, and that in that moment Haiti lost about 230,000 of its citizens, which recently, in the assessments that Haiti has done itself, they had initially thought was about 18 percent of their civil servants; they now know it's upwards of 30 percent of their civil servants who were lost at that time period; 28 out of their 29 government ministries collapsed, and given the set of challenges that they face as one of the poorest nations in the hemisphere, they obviously were in a very challenged place to begin with.
"I think there is a lot that's happened actually in Haiti and there's still an enormous amount that needs to be done, and I think that's one of the challenges that we're going to be confronting now, because we have gotten past the immediate crisis and we are beginning to look towards the long term. And we are in that challenging space between transitioning from the immediate crisis to the long term."
Last week, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah traveled to Haiti to take a look at progress since the earthquake. USAID is supporting medical and psychological care for Haitian children, partnering with Haitians and CHF International in the reconstruction effort through job training, and working with CHF International to clear the Grand Canal, one of the largest and most important drainage mechanisms in Port-au-Prince, to help Haitians during the hurricane season.
He paused to reflect on the six-month commemoration of the 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010.
Administrator Shah said, “Today, we pause to reflect on the tragedy that struck Haiti six months ago and claimed the lives of more than 230,000 people. In the wake of the devastation, countless more were left injured and 1.5 million were displaced and moved into spontaneous settlements across greater Port-au-Prince."
He continued, "But our work has only just begun and significant challenges lay before Haiti and the international community. The U.S. has committed more than $1 billion to Haiti's long-term reconstruction and development. USAID is working with our colleagues at the Department of State and others across the Federal Government to apply the experience and knowledge of our development experts to high-impact projects in five key areas: agriculture, energy, governance support, infrastructure, and health."