submitted by Anna Gohmann

Administrator Shah released the following statement on the six-month commemoration of the 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010:

“Today, we pause to reflect on the tragedy that struck Haiti six months ago and claimed the lives of more than 230,000 people.  In the wake of the devastation, countless more were left injured and 1.5 million were displaced and moved into spontaneous settlements across greater Port-au-Prince.

In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, USAID participated in the largest urban food distribution in history and fed more than 3.5 million people.  We helped distribute emergency shelter to 1 million people.  And we supported a campaign to vaccinate more than one million Haitians against diseases and outbreaks that could have decimated the population.

But our work has only just begun and significant challenges lay before Haiti and the international community.   The US has committed more than $1 billion to Haiti’s long-term reconstruction and development.  USAID is working with our colleagues at the Department of State and others across the Federal Government to apply the experience and knowledge of our development experts to high-impact projects in five key areas: agriculture, energy, governance support, infrastructure, and health.

I traveled to Haiti last week to meet with key leaders from the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission, the U.S. Mission and Embassy, and the NGO community.  Our work will be closely coordinated through the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission and reflective of the Government of Haiti’s Action Plan for National Recovery and Development of Haiti.

As we continue our efforts in the months and years to come, we are committed to partnership, not patronage in order to help the Government of Haiti realize its priorities for its people.  In this way, Haiti will be best positioned to turn the corner on its past, sustainably develop its economy, and continue the important steps it has already begun to build back better.”