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A “Huge Difference” in Haiti, United Nations Development Chief Says

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - March 23, 2012

Above: Haitian President Michel Martelly with UNDP Chief Helen Clark (UN Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Haiti has made progress in rebuilding the country following the January 2010 earthquake, according to United Nations Development Chief Helen Clark.

Clark was speaking this week during her second visit to Haiti since the earthquake.

“I saw a huge difference from the desolation I saw four days after the earthquake — the streets of Port-au-Prince are alive again,” she said. “I feel very confident in the capacity of the Haitian people to rebuild their own country.”

According to the UN Development Programme, more than 60 percent of the 10 million cubic metres of rubble caused by the earthquake has been removed.

Of that total, 25,000 cubic metres of rubble have been re-used on new infrastructure.

“Rubble removal has been very impressive,” said Nigel Fisher, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Haiti, Nigel Fisher. “More than half the rubble has been removed at a much faster rate than in Aceh, Indonesia, after the tsunami, and in lower Manhattan after 9/11.”

Clark, who met with several Haitian officials during the visit, along with women leaders, said that Haiti still faced challenges in a number of areas — from strengthening its institutions to improving its health care services and providing education for women.

While women head more than 40 percent of Haitian households, they hold only 4 percent of seats in parliament.

Clark will complete her visit to the country with a trip to a community centre focused on training residents to repair their homes.

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