Leveled by an earthquake, staggered by a cholera outbreak and, now, lashed by a hurricane, Haiti remains a country in dire need of critical care and sustained aid. Instead, it has been shoved once again onto the backburner of international neglect and left to its own misery.
Of the billions pledged at the United Nations to rebuild Haiti, barely a fifth of the total, around $1.3 billion, has been approved or dispersed by donors. In some cases - including, scandalously, in the United States - all or part of the funds has been held up by lawmakers or bureaucrats. Of the $1.15 billion Washington promised for long-term reconstruction projects, only a trickle has been received so far in Haiti.
The heart of the problem, in Washington and in other donor countries, is that rebuilding Haiti has been treated as a routine development task, akin to improving an irrigation system or extending rural electrification. This makes no sense given the extent of ruination, the scale of needed reconstruction and the ongoing humanitarian suffering in Haiti.