Shah in Haiti

January 27, 2010 By Jordan Smith

The new USAID administrator Rajiv Shah was in Haiti over the weekend, where he oversaw the U.S. response to the devastating earthquake. On the trip, Shah met with Haitian President Rene Preval, discussed recovery efforts and Haiti’s urgent needs. Shah, who travelled with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, also attended the funeral of Monsignor Joseph Serge Miot, Archbishop of Part-au-Prince, who was killed in the quake. Administrators Shah and Fugate visited State University Hospital, with the Haitian Minister of Health, and visited the maternity ward.

On Monday, Shah attended the operations hub of the Haiti crisis response management team on the ninth floor of the D.C.’s, as the response effort shifts from lifesaving to food aid and eventually, development.
The office will likely last only until the end of February, one USAID official told Foreign Policy. Plans for the response management team overall extend to the end of the 2010 calendar year. After that, most ground efforts will be rolled up and all Haiti efforts will probably shift back to USAID’s regional bureau, the official said.

Shah gave no specific details about how the U.S. was thinking about the long-term Haiti commitment saying, “We were there before for a long time; we will be there going forward.”