Billions pledged to rebuild Haiti but little paid out

Three months after donors at a U.S.-sponsored conference pledged more than $5.3 billion to rebuild Haiti, only a fraction of the money has been disbursed, and a special reconstruction commission has barely started to function, according to U.N. and aid officials.

U.S. lawmakers and international aid officials have expressed mounting concern about the slow recovery of the hemisphere's poorest country, where about 230,000 people died and about 2 million were displaced in January's earthquake.

There have been some successes: the provision of thousands of tents, as well as clean water, food and medical care for more than 1 million people. There have been no widespread outbreaks of disease.

About 180 million square feet of rubble is still piled where it sat after the Jan. 12 quake, according to U.N. estimates; only 5,000 of the 125,000 temporary shelters promised by the international community have been built. The Haitian government lost 30 percent of its public employees in the disaster, as well as many of its buildings and sources of tax revenue, officials say.

The United States has not disbursed the roughly $900 million it pledged for reconstruction this year, according to the U.N. Web site http://haitispecialenvoy.org.

[Washington Post]

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