Haiti Gets Shortchanged on Aid

Since a U.N. donors conference in March, when countries pledged over $5.3 billion to help Haiti, only $534 million has been delivered.

By Julianne Hing Jul 16, 2010

Six months after the 7.0 earthquake rocked Haiti in the middle of the afternoon, killing 230,000 people, only a fraction of the aid that’s been pledged for Haiti has made it to the country.

Remember that outpouring of generosity from the international community after Haiti was struck by a massive earthquake in January? There were pledges of billions of dollars in supplies, medical equipment and personnel for the rebuilding and recovery of the country, even a George Clooney-produced telethon, netting millions in personal donations.

But CNN reports that since a U.N. donors conference in March, when dozens of countries pledged over $5.3 billion to help Haiti, only $534 million has been delivered. That’s less than 2 percent from the U.N. affiliation of countries, and that money came from Brazil, Norway, Estonia and Australia.

The $1.15 billion promised from the United States never made it out the door; it’s still stuck in Congress. Other countries have cited the global economic downturn as the reason why they haven’t sent their funds. CNN also reports that the major corporate charities like the Red Cross and the non-profit Doctors Without Borders have only spent a fraction of what they’ve received from donors. Those groups say they are planning long-term projects with the hundreds of millions of dollars they’ve received.

Bill Clinton’s none too happy about the news. "I’m going to call all those governments and say, the ones who said they’ll give money to support the Haitian government, I want to try to get them to give the money, and I’m trying to get the others to give me a schedule for when they’ll release it," he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

But Jehane Sedky from the U.N. Development Program told CNN that countries technically have through fiscal year 2011, which is another year from now, to deliver their money. And people wonder why recovery work is so slow-going.

Photo: PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI – JULY 12: Dump trucks crowd the streets in the Bel-Air on July 12, 2010 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Six months after an earthquake killed an estimated 230,000 people, many Haitians are struggling to rebuild their lives. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)