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Haiti ‘still in bad state’


rhondathompson, [email protected]

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – A report by a United States-based think tank yesterday painted a grim picture of the earthquake recovery effort in Haiti.The report by RAND Corporation highlights a number of problems in the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country that is recovering from the January 12 earthquake that killed 300 000 people and left more than one million others homeless.The powerful 7.0 magnitude quake also flattened a number of buildings. Former United States special envoy to Haiti and director of the RAND International Security and Defence Policy Centre James Dobbins, said while the scale of the damage was surprising “we’re also somewhat surprised at the Haitian and international response. “Not the humanitarian response, which was actually dramatically quick. But the second stage – so little of the rubble has been cleared, and so few of the basic decisions have been made.”Leaders of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee have portrayed Haitian President Rene Preval as an ineffectual leader who has hindered recovery from the quake, and urged their colleagues to reconsider sending money to Haiti if reforms are not made.DemonstrationOn Thursday, a number of Haitians demonstrated outside the collapsed presidential palace calling on the Preval administration to fulfil promises to provide housing.The RAND Corporation report provides some recommendations that the Haitian government and donor governments and groups should focus as they rebuild the country, identifying key areas such as governance, education, health, security, justice and economic policies.Work fasterIt said that donors should focus more on “state building” rather than rebuilding earthquake-damaged structures. It is also calling on the authorities to accelerate the removal of rubble, identifying the issue as “the single most important step toward reconstruction of housing and infrastructure that the Haitian government and donors can take”.The report also calls for a build-up of the national police’s capacity and keeping United Nations peacekeepers here for at least the next five years as well as creating a modern civil service.  (CMC)

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