Haiti: A Long-Term Development Need

March 3, 2010 By Richard Parker

As the U.S. begins aiding in the recovery efforts in Chile after the devastating earthquake there last Saturday, we should not forget the long road that still lies ahead for Haiti’s own recovery efforts.  Now that the cameras are off and the news crews have turned their attention to other natural disasters elsewhere, the real work will begin in Haiti to rebuild a nation that was already in turmoil. 

From relief organizations to corporations, many USGLC members have been on the ground in Haiti even before the earthquake, and they continue their work now in helping to rebuild a country from almost scratch.  

Procter & Gamble’s P&G Fund and Children’s Safe Drinking Water Fund has been providing resources to support both safe water and general relief efforts.  P&G has donated over $2 million worth of personal care products and is working with fellow USGLC members like CARE, PSI and World Vision in assessing ongoing needs. 

World Vision President Rich Stearns visited Haiti shortly after the quake to assess the damage and see how his organization could further help.  Stearns assured the Haitian people when he was there about the long-term needs his organization will try to address by saying, “World Vision, its donors and the international community are all here to assist you, as you climb from the rubble to rebuild your lives, and communities over the coming months and years.”

Former presidents Clinton and Bush are leading efforts to raise private dollars from the American people to aid in the relief effort, but a longer term effort is needed.  As Clinton wrote just after the quake, “As we clear the rubble, we will create better tomorrows by building Haiti back better: with stronger buildings, better schools and health care; with more manufacturing and less deforestation; with more sustainable agriculture and clean energy.”

As the Administration and Congress are both looking at ways to create a better strategy on global development, Haiti could be at the heart of the debate.  Support is always there for immediate response to natural disasters and emergencies, but will it be there in the long term?  The many USGLC members who are already doing great work there will stay, but they need support, as does Haiti’s government, from our International Affairs Budget to rebuild this country. 

Haiti could become an example of the difference targeted aid can make.  As Americans are familiar with the tragedy, demonstrating measured results in Haiti will go a long way to showing just why the International Affairs Budget is such a necessary part of our nation’s spending.