This is ridiculous, nearly nine months after the earthquake, more than a million Haitians still live on the streets between piles of rubble. One reason: Not a cent of the $1.15 billion the U.S. promised for rebuilding has arrived. Is this a red tape issue? Why hasn't the money gotten there yet?
The money was pledged by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in March for use this year in rebuilding. The U.S. has already spent more than $1.1 billion on post-quake relief, but without long-term funds, the reconstruction of the wrecked capital cannot begin.
With just a week to go before fiscal 2010 ends, the money is still tied up in Washington. Who's at fault? The bureaucracy, disorganization and a lack of urgency, The Associated Press learned in interviews with officials in the State Department, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the White House and the U.N. Office of the Special Envoy. One senator has held up a key authorization bill because of a $5 million provision he says will be wasteful.
Meanwhile, deaths in Port-au-Prince are mounting, as quake survivors scramble to live without shelter or food.
'There are truly lives at stake, and the idea that folks are spending more time finger-pointing than getting this solved is almost unbelievable,' said John Simon, a former U.S. ambassador to the African Union who is now with the Center for Global Development, a Washington think tank.