In the wake of Haiti's devastating January 12th, earthquake, the worst disaster of its kind to hit Haiti in 240 years, President Barack Obama called for a swift, coordinated, and aggressive response to help the people of Haiti. He also made clear the United States' commitment to work with Haiti as it rebuilds.
The U.S. Government immediately responded to the President's call to action. More than 20,000 U.S. civilian and military personnel deployed to carry out relief and recovery activities ranging from search and rescue operations; to restoring air and sea ports; to providing life-saving health and medical services; to helping meet the basic food, water, and shelter needs of the Haitian people.
At the Haiti's Donors' Conference in New York last March, the United States pledged $1.15 billion over the course of 2 years for Haiti's reconstruction. This represents about 21 per cent of the $5.4 billion pledged by nearly forty countries and international institutions over the next 2 years. This is in addition to the efforts the United States has already made towards emergency relief and recovery.
One in every 2 American households contributed to Haiti. Through the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, created after President Obama asked Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to lead a public fundraising effort, U.S. businesses and more than 200,000 individuals donated over $36 million that will help Haiti rebuild. This was on top of the $1billion that Americans donated through the United Nations and non-governmental organizations, including the American Red Cross.
President Clinton serves in his personal capacity as the Special Envoy to Haiti for the Secretary General of the United Nations. Alongside Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, he co-chairs the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission as an appointee of Haitian President Rene Preval.
The Commission will conduct strategic planning and coordination of resources from bilateral and multilateral donors, non-governmental organizations, and the business sector, with all necessary transparency and accountability. The United States also plans to contribute to the Haiti Reconstruction Fund – a multi-donor trust fund managed by the World Bank.
Throughout this effort, transparency and accountability to Americans, other donors, and the Haitian people are top priorities. The challenges in Haiti are formidable and much remains to be done. However, the United States remains committed to working with the people and Government of Haiti for the long-term, helping them realize their vision of an economically viable and prosperous Haiti.