Conyers: United States Must Commit to Transparency on Aid to Haiti

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - January 11, 2013

Above: US Congressman John Conyers

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The United States must ensure that all aid funding to Haiti is allocated in a “transparent manner and in close consultation with Haitian authorities,” according to US Congressman John Conyers, a Democrat from the Michigan.

Conyers issued a statement to mark the three-year anniversary of the quake.

“We join with the peo­ple of Haiti in this painful moment of reflec­tion, mourn­ing, and loss,” he said. “We also recall the heroic efforts to assist the earthquake’s vic­tims carried out by Haitians as well as inter­na­tional aid work­ers, and the extra­or­di­nar­ily gen­er­ous out­pour­ing of finan­cial sup­port from tens of mil­lions of indi­vid­u­als, and from gov­ern­ments around the world.  Unfor­tu­nately, there is also much work that needs to be done to heal and rebuild Haiti.”

Conyers pointed to data from the Office of the United Nations Special Envoy to Haiti, which calculated that only 62 percent of post-quake international donor funds have been spent, with less than 4 percent of those funds spent on permanent housing.

The latter comes “despite the enormous need for adequate shelter,” he said. “Funds promised for post-quake assis­tance need to be dis­bursed quickly and invested in sus­tain­able projects so that ‘recon­struc­tion’ can finally be a real­ity for Haiti.”

Conyers also mentioned Haiti’s ongoing cholera epidemic, one which several studies argue was brought to the country by UN peacekeepers from Nepal.

“Given the UN’s unfor­tu­nate respon­si­bil­ity in caus­ing this pan­demic, I ini­ti­ated a let­ter to our Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, encour­ag­ing her to urge the United Nations to take a lead­ing role in rid­ding Haiti of cholera,” he said. “That let­ter was signed by 104 of my col­leagues in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The UN recently announced an initiative to expand its existing anti-cholera programme.

“I am heart­ened that UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Ban Ki-moon sup­ports the plan and has com­mit­ted to help mobi­lize the resources needed to fund it,” he said. “How­ever, to date, the imple­men­ta­tion of the plan has been reput­edly delayed and a mere 10 per­cent of the nec­es­sary fund­ing has been secured.”

The Congressman said he called on the UN to “step up its efforts to secure the nec­es­sary funds to ensure that Haiti can quickly acquire the water and san­i­ta­tion infra­struc­ture that will stop the deadly spread of cholera.”


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