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Haitians must be in charge

Six months ago, January’s devastating Haitian earthquake killed 222,750 people and left 1.2 million homeless.

Concern CEO Tom Arnold has now called for an international consensus and recognition that Haitians must be in charge of rebuilding their country. He stated:

"There is a role for the international community to support the Haitian people but those in charge must be the Haitians. The courage, dignity, survival and resilience of the Haitian people over the past six months have been astounding. In the most appalling circumstances, they have proven to be the real ‘Humanitarians of Haiti’, the first to help others, to take people in and, despite immense devastation and suffering, are now working to re-establish their lives against all the odds."


Latest estimates put the cost of rebuilding Haiti at $US 11.5 billion and it is estimated to take five to 10 years to rebuild the capital and other areas affected in the country. About $9.9 billion has been promised in aid for Haiti’s reconstruction; over half of it ($5.3 billion) is due to be spent in the next two years.

Tom went on to say:

A clear determination at this early stage to strengthen and empower Haitians to make decisions about the priorities in their country is key to a Marshall Plan-style reconstruction.

While there is a major role to be played by the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission, as well as foreign governments, donors and NGOs, these should support the government's reconstruction model without creating bureaucratic and time-consuming processes, with transparency and accountability remaining paramount.