By Nick Owens, Mirror.co.uk
The world pledged £3.4billion for victims, but six months on just 2% of the cash has been given out
It was one of the worst natural disasters ever – 220,000 people dead, another 1.5million homeless and living in squalor.
When the heartbreaking images of the devastation caused by the massive earthquake in Haiti appeared on TV screens across the globe, the world pledged £3.41billion in aid.
But six months on from the January 12 quake a Sunday Mirror investigation can reveal how the victims are being forgotten…because just TWO per cent of the money has arrived.
Children, many orphaned by the quake, are living in misery in rubble-strewn camps with little hope of being rehoused. People have to queue for hours just to use a lavatory as there is just one for every 200 survivors.
And because businesses aren’t up and running again yet, looting is common – making the make-shift camps a breeding ground for criminals.
Today UK charities warn that the rescue mission is descending into chaos, leaving thousands facing death.
Donors are refusing to hand over their cash until the Haiti government comes up with a plan detailing exactly how the aid will be spent.
But Haiti can’t do that until the money arrives, condemning people there to a hellish future.
Our revelations will horrify Britons who donated more than £100million to help rebuild Haiti, one of the world’s poorest countries.
Six months on from the disaster, Haiti remains in a state of utter turmoil with hardly any reconstruction taking place.
The quake left more than 25million cubic yards of rubble – but only five per cent has been cleared.
It damaged or destroyed 5,000 schools yet just 225 have reopened, mainly run by charity workers. There is just one doctor to treat 50,000 refugees.
More than 280,000 damaged homes remain untouched, meaning 1.5million people – a tenth of the population – have been left living in tents in 1,000 makeshift camps spread across the region.
Aid workers on the ground say that although the world’s initial response to helping Haiti was good, the process of rebuilding the country is a shambles.
Hundreds of officials working for the Haiti government were killed in the quake, so the job of dragging the country out of its nightmare was handed to the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, created at the end of March at an international conference.
Countries at the summit pledged £3.41billion in aid… but so far only £327million has been handed over.
Two of the biggest contributions – £754million from the US and £866million from Venezuela – have been held up by delays in Congress and political red tape. Meanwhile, out of the £714million raised by US charities, an incredible £468million still has not arrived.
Of the £130million promised by Britain, only a third has so far been sent, although the UK’s Disasters Emergency Committee insist the rest of the money has been earmarked for long-term projects.
Ian Bray of Oxfam said nations are sitting on their money until the Haiti government explains how they will spend it.
He said: “It is a catch-22 situation. Countries have promised money but the Haiti government hasn’t provided a blueprint for reconstruction. Therefore countries are reluctant to hand money over until that happens.”
And the speed at which the Haiti commission is working is causing alarm. Despite being formed in March the body – led by ex-US president Bill Clinton and Haiti Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive – only met for the first time last month.
They are still trying to recruit a director of finance who will manage the billions of aid.
Marie Delorme-Pierre of the charity CAFOD, who has recently returned from Haiti, said: “It is tragic to see that a lot of money pledged hasn’t arrived.
“Without the money the reconstruction isn’t going to happen. We need this money and people are living under tents in camps, praying it will arrive.
“Unless the world keeps its promise to Haiti, then the nation and its people will lose their hope of a brighter future.”
Jean Claude Fignole of Action Aid, which has been working on the ground in Haiti, added: “Many projects to rehouse the homeless in Haiti are being needlessly held up.
“There is a real shortage of officials in Haiti to make the decisions needed on issues like rehousing people and allowing building projects to start.
“Charities have been able to offer victims access to shelter, clean water and healthcare. But there is no chance of rebuilding the nation until a proper blueprint is put in place.”
British charity Save the Children says it is the most challenging emergency in its history.
Gareth Owen, director of emergencies, said: “It is crunch time. Until a plan has been agreed between the government and its people, Haiti and the humanitarian community will be in a state of a limbo.
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