January 12, 2012
Today marks the second anniversary of Haiti’s devastating earthquake, but despite some rosy headlines from publications such as the Washington Post about recovery efforts, the situation for Haitians has barely improved. “It is hard to see how the situation today is any better than a year ago,” CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot wrote in a recent statement. “In many areas, such as provision of sanitation facilities and housing to internally displaced persons (IDPs), there has been very little improvement. Meanwhile, the cholera epidemic has infected hundreds of thousands more Haitians during the past year, and killed thousands, with no end yet in sight.” As Mark told USA Today, “There’s been a remarkable lack of progress.”
Since the earthquake, CEPR has closely followed the recovery and reconstruction process, tracking official data, using information from inside UN and NGO meetings, scrutinizing reports, and making our own on-the-ground investigations. This information has been useful for officials, members of Congress, NGO’s, and the media. The Miami Herald cited CEPR this week in reporting “beltway area for-profit development companies received 83 percent of U.S. Agency for International Development Haiti contracts. About 2.5 percent of the funds went to Haitian companies, and less than half of one percent went to Haitian non-profit groups.”
We have also written extensively about important, related issues facing Haiti, from the fatally flawed 2010 presidential election and political intervention by the Organization of American States to the strain of cholera inadvertently introduced into Haiti by UN troops, which has now infected more than 520,000 and killed some 7,000. Mark exclaims in an ABC News report, “It’s outrageous for the UN to try to deny responsibility for bringing cholera to Haiti.” Yet the UN continues to do just that.
For more on Haiti, visit CEPR’s Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch blog, which has a round-up of the media coverage today. Mark and CEPR Research Assistant Jake Johnston have also contributed a chapter to the newly released book, Tectonic Shifts: Haiti Since the Earthquake, published by Kumarian Press, and edited by Mark Schuller and Pablo Morales. CEPR is co-sponsoring an event with Mark Schuller on Jan. 24 at Busboys and Poets in D.C., where he will discuss the book.