U.S. Pledges More Haiti Aid as Emergency Efforts Grind On
(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. will provide an additional $32 million in aid to Haiti, as the Caribbean nation scrambles to recover from a devastating Aug. 14 earthquake that killed at least 2,207 and left more than 100,000 homeless in the middle of hurricane season.
Samantha Power, the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, said Thursday that the money would be spent on shelter, healthcare, food, water “and other urgent life-saving priorities.”
Speaking in Port-au-Prince after visiting the earthquake zone in the south, Power said the U.S. was committed to learning from mistakes of the 2010 earthquake when imported goods undermined local markets. She said her department was encouraging all aid purchases to be done locally when possible.
“No development agency, no army or diplomatic corps can import a perfect humanitarian response from afar,” she said. “You need local expertise and leadership to to reach communities in need.”
Haiti officials said the quake either damaged or destroyed more than 120,000 structures and left more than 12,268 injured.
Two weeks after the earthquake, some rural communities complain they haven’t received aid. Some villages remain accessible only by air as bridges are down and roads are blocked, but some have also complained about government disorganization.
Prime Minister Ariel Henry, also speaking at Thursday’s event, defended his administration’s response, saying “there is no chaos” in terms of aid delivery.
“Our country is in a difficult situation socially, politically and economically,” he said, “and this earthquake has aggravated everything.”
The quake struck less than two months after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise and amid a wave of criminal violence.
The United Nations has asked the international community to donate $187 million as an initial response to the earthquake.
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