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Rebuilding Haiti

Haiti Rebuilding Is "Stalled," Says New Report

June 23, 2010

By Tom Ichniowski
This article originally appeared on Engineering News-Record

Five months after a severe earthquake devastated parts of Haiti, a Senate report, released June 22, says there are troubling indications that the process of reconstructing the country has "stalled."

The report, by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Democratic staff, gives a blunt analysis of the situation, saying that "Haiti is at a significant crossroads."

It lists "critical issues" to be addressed in 10 key areas, including developing "a feasible, comprehensive rebuilding strategy" and getting the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission fully operational.

The committee staff analysis also calls on Haitian President Rene Preval to "take a more visible and active role" in the rebuilding.

The Jan. 12 magnitude-7 quake caused about 230,000 deaths and displaced millions.

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The report praises donors and the Haitian government for "a remarkable job" in the relief phase, providing food, water, and other assistance. But it also sees "worrisome signs that the rebuilding process in Haiti has stalled."

It adds, "As the sense of immediate crisis has subsided, so has the sense of urgency to undertake bold action--the 'reimagination' of Haiti hoped for months ago--and the commitment to prevent a return to the dysfunctional, unsustainable ways of life past."

The report says, "Rubble is still strewn all over the streets, the majority of buildings are damaged if not collapsed, and informal tent settlements--in penurious conditions--have sprouted everywhere."

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