With broad-based support including from its neighbors, the United States and the United Nations, Haiti was experiencing a time of stability that was ripe for economic growth when it was hit by the devastating earthquake of January 12th. It is estimated that 300,000 people died, and more than a million lost their homes. In just 35 seconds, the foundation for a prosperous future was dashed.
The global community was generous with emergency assistance for the people and Government of Haiti. More than 140 nations mobilized to help those who needed it most by providing: food, water, medicines, and temporary shelter. As we continue to work with the people and Government of Haiti to meet immediate needs, we commit ourselves to long-term efforts to help Haiti build back better.
Haiti stands at a crossroads, and the road it takes will determine the success of the rebuilding. "If the effort to rebuild is slow or insufficient, if it is marked by conflict, lack of coordination, or lack of transparency, then the challenges that have plagued Haiti for years could erupt with regional and global consequences," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a Haiti Donors' Conference on March 31st.
The task ahead is monumental, but clear. The conference last week demonstrates that Haitians will have the support of the international community as they approach the job of rebuilding their country thoroughly, whether it is new construction built to withstand the worst Nature has to throw at it; a broad-based economy capable of sustained growth; a government with transparent and accountable institutions, supplying services such as strong education and health care systems that can "give the Haitian people the tools they need to contribute to their nation’s progress," said Secretary Clinton:
"And if Haiti can do all of those things with our help, it will become an engine for progress and prosperity generating opportunity and fostering greater stability for itself and for countries throughout the hemisphere and beyond."
On behalf of the United States, Secretary of State Clinton pledged $1.15 billion for Haiti’s long-term recovery and reconstruction. "This money will go toward supporting the Government of Haiti’s plan to strengthen agriculture, energy, health, security, and governance," she said.
"I’m very excited and very committed on behalf of President Obama, the Government of the United States, and the people of the United States to help Haiti and to help the leaders of Haiti lead a recovery effort worthy of their highest hopes."