Haiti aid fund not filling fast enough

2010-07-15 07:47

A $500 million pledge of aid for Haiti quake relief promised three

months ago is only 20% full, the World Bank said yesterday.

The bank’s vice president for Latin America, Pamela Cox, said: “We

have for the Haiti Reconstruction Trust fund 98 million.”

Cox said that so far Brazil had donated $55 million, Norway $31

million, Australia $8.6 million, Colombia $3.2 million and Estonia $50

000.

The $500 million fund is part of a five-year, $10 billion relief

package donor countries agreed to provide for Haiti in late March, half of which

was pledged for disbursement in the first two years.

Cox said: “Many of the big donors to Haiti have not yet got the

money in.” She added that the aid funds are often tied up in recession-hit

national budgets.

Nevertheless, she called on donor countries “to make decisions

faster,” and said: “I’d like to have most of the money by the first anniversary

of the earthquake, on January 12 2011.”

Cox, however, said the pledges were coming in at a normal pace,

recalling that donor pledges made after the devastating 2004 tsunami in Asia

took up to two years to arrive.

The World Bank official said the rest of the donations pledged in

March were coming in on a bilateral basis between Haiti and the donor

countries.

Some 250 000 people were killed and 1.5 million left homeless when

the earth shook on January 12, unleashing a trail of destruction on the capital,

Port-au-Prince.

Haitians on Monday marked the first six-months after the disaster

with growing impatience at the slow trickle of aid and the crawling pace of

reconstruction, with experts predicting it could take 20 years just to clear the

rubble from the streets.

According to the United Nations office in Haiti, nearly 4 000 small

homes have been built in a project that anticipates building some 10 000

houses.

Cox admitted “the pace of reconstruction has not been as rapid as

we would have hoped”.


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