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Challenges and Accomplishments

The thirty-second January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti created an estimated 10 million cubic meters of rubble―enough to fill more than 5,900 Olympic-size swimming pools. Approximately five years after the earthquake, the majority of rubble has been cleared and long-term reconstruction activities are well underway.

Overall Rubble Removal

The U.N. Development Program (UNDP), which was responsible for coordinating the international community’s rubble removal, estimates that at least 7.4 million cubic meters of rubble was moved through the combined efforts of the Government of Haiti, the international community, individual households, and private firms. The vast majority of the remaining quake-related debris has been moved by households and businesses themselves.

U.S. Government Rubble Removal

The U.S. Government funded the removal of more than 2.7 million cubic meters of rubble, or approximately 36 percent of all rubble removed. During the first year following the earthquake, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), created short-term employment for more than 350,000 people by engaging them in multiple efforts to clear rubble from streets and neighborhoods. As the response progressed, USAID mobilized many of its implementing partners from all technical sectors to deploy machinery to move the rubble. In line with the Government of Haiti’s priorities and guidelines developed by the international community, USAID’s partners also focused on rubble recycling and reuse to support the reconstruction process and reduce costs. In total, the U.S. Government spent more than $100 million for rubble removal through projects funded by USAID and the U.S. Department of Defense. Included in these efforts was a $25 million debris removal program that the U.S. Government supported through the multi-donor Haiti Reconstruction Fund. Successfully completed in October 2012, this program, known as Debris II and implemented by UNDP, created more than 13,000 short-term jobs; 40 percent of the jobs were filled by women, including many crew chief positions.

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Last updated: January 28, 2015

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