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Post-Earthquake U.S. Government Assistance in Haiti

Despite significant development challenges, a history of instability, and proneness to natural disaster, the people and Government of Haiti are striving to advance reconstruction and development and strengthen Haiti’s democratic institutions. Haiti’s challenges were heightened significantly by the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck on Jan. 12, 2010, killing more than 230,000 people, displacing more than 1.5 million, and affecting more than 3 million.

Since the earthquake, the U.S. Government has committed more than $4.0 billion toward relief, recovery, and reconstruction, of which approximately $3.1 billion has been disbursed as of September 30, 2014. To address critical post-earthquake needs, the U.S. Government committed $1.3 billion in humanitarian relief assistance. This relief assistance supported the deployment of search-and-rescue teams, provided emergency food assistance and safe drinking water, installed latrines and water systems, provided emergency shelter, re-established medical supply chains, and restocked medical supply inventories. This assistance also included funding to help address the October 2010 cholera outbreak through treatment and prevention.

U.S. Government Strategy in Haiti

The U.S. Government committed an additional $2.7 billion in reconstruction and development assistance to support Haiti’s reconstruction and long-term development activities. This funding supports activities in four U.S. Government development pillars identified in the five-year U.S. Government Haiti Strategy: (1) Infrastructure and Energy, (2) Food and Economic Security, (3) Health and Other Basic Services, and (4) Governance and Rule of Law.

In order to ensure sustainability and a long-term positive impact of U.S. Government-funded programs, activities are coordinated with the Government of Haiti and local stakeholders. Key achievements of U.S. Government assistance in Haiti include:

  • Cleared more than 2.7 million cubic meters of rubble created by the earthquake.
  • Provided shelter solutions for more than 328,000 people.
  • Constructed a 10 megawatt power plant, with potential expansion to at least 25 megawatts, for the Caracol Industrial Park in Haiti’s north and rehabilitated five electrical substations in Port-au-Prince.
  • Increased crop yields of beneficiary farmers for corn, beans, rice, and plantains through new technologies and a better use of agricultural inputs.
  • Provide access to basic medical care targeting approximately half the Haitian population through our support of more than 160 sites nationwide.
  • Developed innovative and evidence-based early-grade reading curriculum to improve reading outcomes for more than 65,000 students, with the potential to reach more than one million children nationwide.
  • Our local governance project is assisting nine municipalities to collect and manage revenues and improve service delivery, including through long-term roles for Haitian sub-contractors.
  • Trained and commissioned an additional 3,300 new Haitian National Police officers.

Local Solutions: Empowering Haitian-Owned Organizations

USAID works in strong partnership with the Haitian people and with the Government of Haiti toward our common goal of a more prosperous and stable country. Our development assistance is increasingly targeted to strengthen local capacity; through February 2014, USAID provided more than $84 million to more than 500 local organizations through sub-contracts and sub-grants.

Moving forward, the U.S. Government’s goal is to increase local contracting as new programs continue to be designed and awarded. The U.S. Government will work specifically to build the capacity of Haitian organizations to receive direct funding for implementing U.S. Government projects. Some of the programs the U.S. Government is currently funding or has previously funded through USAID include:

Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) program: With an emphasis on innovations that can succeed in the Haitian context, DIV offers funding for innovative proposals that demonstrate high prospects for success. For example, one DIV grantee is promoting renewable charcoal cooking briquettes called “green charcoal” to increase local food production and rural commerce while also reducing Haiti’s reliance on charcoal.

Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investments (LEAD) project: This project is partnering with Haitian businesses and U.S.-based investors to empower local Haitian businesses. Since 2012, LEAD has awarded 28 grants to Haitian organizations, allowing them to expand operations and increase employment. One grantee with notable success is Surtab, a local Android tablet producer. The company has been able to increase its monthly production from 2,000 tablets to 3,000-4,000 tablets.

Local Enterprise and Value Chain Enhancement (LEVE) project: The recently awarded LEVE project aims to create jobs in target industries and sectors in the Port-au-Prince, Saint Marc, and Cap Haitien development corridors by building more inclusive and productive value chains.

Public-Private Partnerships: Public-private partnerships encourage private firms to partner with USAID, bringing their expertise and financial contribution to project implementation. For example, USAID recently partnered with a Haitian brewery owned by Heineken, BRANA, to help small-scale sorghum farmers increase their income and sorghum yields. Through the partnership, BRANA expects to partially replace the imported malted barley used to make its non-alcoholic drink Malta H with locally grown sorghum.

Last updated: December 16, 2014

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