Thousands still homeless, hungry in Haiti

Aug. 9, 2010 at 12:34 PM
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PETITIONVILLE, Haiti, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Nearly seven months after the devasting earthquake in Haiti, tens of thousands of people are still homeless and hungry, a report said.

Despite $1.8 billion in earthquake aid, an estimated 1.6 million people are still living in tent camps in the middle of the hurricane season, The Boston Globe said Monday.

The earthquake hit Haiti Jan. 12.

Just 4 percent of the earthquake debris has been cleared and there are frequent shortages of clean water and often little food, the report said.

Paul Farmer, founder of Boston-based Partners in Health and a deputy special envoy for the United Nations, recently told a congressional panel that less than 3 percent of Haitian aid had gone directly to the country's government. In the past, he said, U.S. policies, and those of others, have sometimes bypassed Haiti's leadership, weakening it and contributing in part to the crisis today.

At the U.S. Embassy, a top official said "there is some validity" to Farmer's conclusions but he said the United States is committed to strengthening Haiti's government going forward, the Globe said.

"We want to make sure that everything we do is consistent with the government of Haiti's policies, its needs, its desires," said Leon S. Waskin, director of the response effort for the U.S. Agency for International Development. "They actually have to be government of Haiti programs, not donor programs, or else they're not going to work."

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