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Haiti - Reconstruction : Last hurdle for the release of U.S. funds
01/10/2010 10:09:51

Haiti - Reconstruction : Last hurdle for the release of U.S. funds
Nearly nine months after the earthquake of January 12, not a single dollar on 1.15 billion pledged by the United States for aid to rebuild Haiti has been paid. Recall that it was March 24 that President Barack Obama had asked Congress for $ 2.8 billion in aid for Haiti. Six months later, the law text that must authorize the distribution of this aid was still blocked in Congress by Tom Coburn, Republican Senator from Oklahoma who is challenging the appointment of a Special Coordinator Haiti to coordinate the aid.

The project proposes the appointment of a coordinator to develop a reconstruction strategy in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The post would cost five million dollars over five years, including salaries and expenses of a team of seven people.

Without approval of the text, the State Department is trying to release these funds as much as possible, bypassing Congress. He sent to the members of Parliament a spending plan on Sept. 20 and gave the elected until October 5 to review it. If they do not, the money can be released anyway for projects that have been approved.

« We must ensure that the needs of Haitians are not sacrificed because of bureaucratic and procedural obstacles » said John Kerry Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations « additional delays are not acceptable » he added. The State Department expects to be able to start disbursing funds for reconstruction in the weeks and months ahead.

Finally, Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State has announced the appointment of Thomas C. Adams as Special Coordinator for Haiti. The office of the Special Coordinator will be responsible for the U.S. Government's commitment to Haiti, including diplomatic relations and the implementation of a reconstruction strategy in partnership with the Government of Haiti, and other donors.

Mr. Adams brings over 35 years of government experience to the Department’s long term recovery effort in Haiti. He previously served as Coordinator of Assistance to Europe and Eurasia from 2005 to 2008, where he was responsible for the design and implementation of all U.S. assistance to the 29 countries that emerged from communism in Europe and Eurasia.

Mr. Adams is a graduate of the University of Virginia and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. He speaks English, French, Swahili, and Hungarian. He is a 2010 recipient of the Department of State’s Director General’s Cup and was awarded three Meritorious and two Superior Honor Awards over the course of his career.

Nothing any more [in theory] should make obstacle with the payments of the funds for the rebuilding promised by the United States.

PI/ HaitiLibre

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