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Joint Statement from Leading Congressional Voices for Haiti on Fourth Anniversary of Earthquake

WASHINGTON—Today, five Members of Congress who have served as leading advocates for development assistance, disaster recovery, and human rights in Haiti—United States Representatives Yvette Clarke, John Conyers, Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, and Frederica S. Wilson—released the following statement on the fourth anniversary of the 2010 earthquake:

“On the fourth anniversary of the worst natural disaster in recent memory—the Haiti Earthquake of 2010—we pause to honor those affected and salute the strength and resilience of the Haitian people.

“As Members of the Congressional Haiti Taskforce, we reaffirm our commitment to rebuilding and restoring Haiti and to building the foundation for equitable and sustainable development for the Haitian people. 

“The earthquake in January 2010 claimed about 220,000 lives and destroyed the livelihoods of nearly three million more people.  An estimated 293,000 homes were destroyed or severely damaged, leaving 1.5 million people in informal housing or camps with high reported levels of violence. More than three quarters of the schools in the capital were rendered useless, leaving young Haitians with little opportunity to learn and no safe space to spend their time. A quarter of the civil servants in Port-au-Prince were killed, resulting in an overwhelming need for administrators, service providers, and security personnel. 

“Through the resolve and hard work of the Haitian people as well as effective assistance from the Obama Administration and international partners, Haiti has started on the process of recovery. While earthquake rubble once filled a continuous line of container ships across the Caribbean, most of it has been removed.  More than a million Haitians have moved out of tent camps, hundreds of schools have been built, and almost half a million temporary jobs have been created. 

“But serious challenges—including displacement, food insecurity, and cholera—remain.  And US authorities can do better. According to a report by the Government Accountability Office, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) had—as of June 2013—obligated only 52 percent and disbursed just 35 percent of the funding for Haiti reconstruction from the 2010 Supplemental Appropriations Act.  To address these concerns, the US House of Representatives recently passed bipartisan legislation introduced by Congresswoman Barbara Lee and members of the CBC Haiti Task Force, the Assessing Progress in Haiti Act, which requires the State Department to provide detailed progress reports every six months through September 30, 2016. We encourage our colleagues in the Senate to pass this important bill.

The fourth anniversary of Haiti’s tragedy provides an opportunity to honor the dead and recognize the progress made. It is also a time to renew our efforts to rebuild Haiti by insisting on accountability, transparency, and good governance.”

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