Much more money is needed to help Haitians rebuild their livesFeb 19, 2010
New York, 19 February 2010—More than a month after the Haiti earthquake, Haitians are working diligently to rebuild their country and be better prepared for the hurricane season starting in June. To support them with this effort, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has asked for $103.9 million under the recently-launched revised UN Humanitarian Appeal for $1.4 billion. The primary focus is to jump starting the local economy and rehabilitate essential social infrastructure.
The cash-for-work programme is at the heart of UNDP’s efforts in the country. The project is putting thousands of Haitians to work, enabling them to earn an income as they help their country recover from the devastating earthquake that struck on 12 January 2010. Through the revised appeal, UNDP is requesting $80.2 million for the cash-for-work programme. To date, $27.3 million has been confirmed from a wide variety of donors, and are currently enough to cover salaries for the month of March. The funding gap stands at $52.9 million and significant donor support is urgently needed to ensure that the cash-for-work programme expands and reaches the largest number of affected Haitians.
“Providing the survivors of the quake with jobs gives them a sense of hope, and a stake in the recovery. It also helps inject much needed cash to kick-start local economy,” said Jordan Ryan, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery.
Currently about 35,000 people –40 percent of whom are women– are enrolled in this effort, with many more being indirect beneficiaries. UNDP expects to reach over 52,000 Haitians, in the coming weeks. Each worker is paid 180 gourdes, or about US$4.5 at current rates of exchange, for six hour’s labour. The work includes removing building rubble from the streets, crushing and sorting of reusable material and disposal of debris and restoring essential public facilities to lay the foundations for mid-term recovery and development. Haitians are also clearing sites for safe re-settlement, repairing surface water drainage and improving road access to and through affected areas.
The cash-for-work-programme puts cash into the pockets of Haitians, so they can purchase goods and services of their choosing, thereby having a positive impact on the local economy whilst directly benefiting families. In addition, it opens up areas of the city to access by emergency vehicles and public and private transportation.
Another critical area of concentration for UNDP, budgeted for in the appeal, is strengthening the capacities of the Haitian Government, which have been reduced considerably as a consequence of the earthquake. This support is meant to include local capacity for crisis management and also the planning capacity of key ministries that would allow the Government of Haiti to plan and implement the reconstruction of the country.
Other recovery activities for which UNDP is seeking funding for in the UN Humanitarian Appeal include: preparation for the hurricane season, micro-grants for marginalized and vulnerable Haitians, environmental impact mitigation, and protection for displaced Haitians in the border region with the Dominican Republic.
“The international response has been very generous, including from a number of developing countries,” said Ryan. “But Haiti needs continued donor support to build strong democratic institutions, put in place effective disaster preparedness measures and reduce extreme poverty. Now is the time for even more support for the people of Haiti.”
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