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Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke Joins CBC Foreign Policy and International Relations Hearing on Haiti

Focus on Haiti: The Road to Recovery – A Six Month Review

Today, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke joined the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) for a special Foreign Policy and International Relations hearing focusing on Haiti’s recovery six months after the devastating 7.0 earthquake hit the Caribbean nation. Rep. Clark released the following statement:

“First I would like to thank Chairwoman Lee for hosting this critical hearing regarding Haiti and its road to recovery. I would also like to acknowledge my colleagues from the CBC who have been so diligent in their work and commitment to Haiti, even before the earthquake.

“As we commemorate the six month anniversary of the earthquake and its aftermath, we must appreciate that the Caribbean nation of Haiti is at the advent of a new era. Through this disaster we witnessed the great resilience of the Haitian people. We also witnessed the outpouring of compassion, humanitarian aid and support from our global community. While much has been done since the initial response to the disaster, it is clear that there is much to do in order to bring forth a stabilized and prosperous Haiti.

“As many of you know, I represent the second largest Haitian population in the country. Given the proximity of our culture and heritage, the aftershocks of the 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti, still reverberate in my district and throughout the Haitian Diaspora. Our family members, friends and loved ones, were all affected by the tragic earthquake and we all have a vested interest in Haiti’s economic and social resurgence.

“I commend the United Nations, the many NGO’s and especially the Administration for their commitment to the people of Haiti, and for playing an integral role in our nation’s emergency and reconstruction efforts.

“That said, I am greatly concerned that there is a lot of conflicting information between what’s taking place on the ground and what is being reported to Congress. I hear from my constituents and certain NGO’s on the ground that the shelter situation is deteriorating, the prevalence of gender based violence is increasing and that best practices are not being used within the IDP camps. However, I hear differing information from USAID/UN officials.

“In order to mitigate the rumor mill, there needs to be a standard mechanism that facilitates accurate flow of information. I also want to encourage the Administration and UN officials to utilize new and creative ways to address the long term needs of Haiti as we continue on this complex and convoluted road to recovery.

“Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t stress that there should be Haitian solutions for Haitian problems. It is important that USAID and the Department of State are buttressed by the Haitian Diaspora. Simple outreach just won’t cut it! We need the direct leadership, talents and expertise of the Haitian Diaspora. It is integral that those who are knowledgeable about the nuances and intricacies of Haiti and its people take the lead in the recovery, reconstruction and development of Haiti.

“It’s not just a road to recovery, but a road to prosperity. Haiti’s new dawn can be realized, but only if the country is rebuilt for Haitians, by Haitians and their allies.”