Unrealistic to expect immediate quake recovery in Haiti: US

20th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

The United States and France said Monday it is unrealistic to expect an immediate recovery in Haiti even though billions of dollars in aid have been pledged for the country since January's earthquake.

"Those who expect progress immediately are unrealistic and doing a disservice to the many people who are working so hard," US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a meeting in New York with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive.

"But to expect less than concerted effort everyday that produces results would be a great tragedy," Clinton said on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

The three signed two memoranda of understanding: one to set up an industrial zone to create 10,000 jobs and the other to finance the rebuilding of the main hospital in Port-au-Prince.

"Some find that it's going slowly, very slowly, the reconstruction of Haiti," Kouchner said. "And some are surprised that with so much money raised there is no really visible progress.

"It's because they have no idea of the immensity of the disaster," he said.

"There's a lot of money, many things have been done, but that cannot be immediately visible."

Clinton, Kouchner and Bellerive then took part in a meeting of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, which is co-chaired by former US president Bill Clinton and Bellerive.

The Haitian prime minister said that "impatience is increasing in Haiti" and that "there are results to show right away."

However, he said the island has avoided a spate of epidemics and an outbreak of violence, and that 250 classrooms have been rebuilt in time for the annual return to school.

Haiti was struck by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake on January 12, which killed 250,000 people. Some 1.3 million people remain homeless.

On March 31 at UN headquarters in New York, the global community pledged nearly 10 billion dollars for Haiti over more than three years to put the quake-ravaged nation back on its feet.

The 9.9-billion-dollar pledge from some 50 donors included 5.3 billion dollars for the 2010-2011 period, far in excess of the 3.8 billion that was sought by conference organizers for that period.

© 2010 AFP

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