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Challenges and Accomplishments

The January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti created an estimated 10 million cubic meters of rubble in 30 seconds―enough to fill more than 5,900 Olympic-size swimming pools. Approximately four years after the earthquake, significant progress has been made in removing the rubble to clear the way for reconstruction.  

Overall Progress

The U.N. Development Program (UNDP), which is responsible for coordinating the international community’s rubble-related programming, estimates that at least 7.4 million cubic meters of rubble has been moved through the combined efforts of the Government of Haiti, the international community, individual households, and private firms. Debris that remains is primarily being dealt with on a plot-by-plot basis as part of larger neighborhood construction projects. 

U.S. Government Progress

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. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), created short-term employment for more than 350,000 people by putting them to work clearing rubble from streets and neighborhoods. As the response progressed, USAID’s implementing partners also deployed small and heavy 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 has 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 over 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: February 10, 2014

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