Helping Haiti Rebuild

January 21, 2010 By Jordan Smith

As the U.S. leads the efforts of the international community to offer aid to beleaguered Haiti, the development, diplomatic and defense arms of the federal government are moving in step with one another, along with international organizations. For several days after the earthquake, it was difficult to get relief supplies through, because of the country’s battered infrastructure. The U.S. military says the bottleneck slowing aid distribution in Haiti’s capital is easing, with more flights moving through the city’s airport and the seaport expected to reopen later this week.  As the military clears the way, USAID is bringing in such items as kitchen sets, water containers, water jugs, hygiene kits, emergency medical kits. Over 130,000 water bladders for storing clean water have been distributed. Food is being given to the World Food Program for distribution, non-food aid to the International Organization of Migration, and USAID is also working through its traditional partners.

The U.S. Disaster Assistance Response Teams (DART) had 506 people on the ground as of Monday afternoon. The U.S. distributed 233,000 bottles of water on Monday, bringing the total to about 400,000, as well as 140,000 rations on Monday, bringing that total to about 300,000. 12,000 pounds of medical supplies have been delivered.

Demonstrating a “whole of government” effort, many USGLC members are partnering with USAID.  Some of these organizations have been on the ground in Haiti since day one, delivering life-saving aid and assistance.

There is also hope that we have stepped up our development agenda for long-term, sustainable support for Haiti. Recognizing the need for a long-term sustainable development effort, President Obama wrote in Newsweek that “as the tremors fade and Haiti no longer tops the headlines or leads the evening news, our mission will be to help the people of Haiti to continue on their path to a brighter future.”