Jan 11th, 2013
(DETROIT) – Today, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement recognizing the third anniversary of the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake, which struck Haiti on January 12, 2010:
“This Saturday marks the third anniversary of Haiti’s tragic earthquake. We join with the people of Haiti in this painful moment of reflection, mourning, and loss. We also recall the heroic efforts to assist the earthquake’s victims carried out by Haitians as well as international aid workers, and the extraordinarily generous outpouring of financial support from tens of millions of individuals, and from governments around the world. Unfortunately, there is also much work that needs to be done to heal and rebuild Haiti,” said Conyers.
“Moving forward, the United States needs to recommit itself to ensuring that all aid funding to Haiti is allocated in a transparent manner and in close consultation with Haitian authorities and civil society beneficiaries. It is also incumbent upon the international community to fulfill its commitments to the people of Haiti made in the months following the earthquake. The United Nation’s Office for the Special Envoy to Haiti calculates that, as of September, only 62 percent of post-quake international donor funds have been spent, and less than 4 percent of these funds have been spent on permanent housing, despite the enormous need for adequate shelter. Funds promised for post-quake assistance need to be disbursed quickly and invested in sustainable projects so that ‘reconstruction’ can finally be a reality for Haiti.
“The devastating human and material damage caused by the 2010 earthquake was compounded by a cholera epidemic that appeared ten months after the quake and rapidly spread throughout Haiti. According to Haiti’s health authorities, 7,912 people have died from the disease and 635,980 have been infected. I applaud the significant prevention and treatment efforts carried out by Haitian authorities and international organizations, in particular the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the disease still rages. In December alone, 193 more people died of cholera. This is a 190 percent increase compared to December of the previous year.
“Independent scientific studies indicate that cholera was brought to Haiti by infected United Nations troops; most likely through the dumping of contaminated fecal waste into a major waterway. Given the UN’s unfortunate responsibility in causing this pandemic, I initiated a letter to our ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, encouraging her to urge the United Nations to take a leading role in ridding Haiti of cholera. That letter was signed by 104 of my colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Late last year we learned that the Haitian government, together with various international organizations, developed a $2.2 billion plan to rid Haiti of cholera through systematic treatment and the building of crucial water and sanitation infrastructure. I am heartened that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon supports the plan and has committed to help mobilize the resources needed to fund it. However, to date, the implementation of the plan has been reputedly delayed and a mere 10 percent of the necessary funding has been secured.
“On this sad anniversary, I call once again on the UN to step up its efforts to secure the necessary funds to ensure that Haiti can quickly acquire the water and sanitation infrastructure that will stop the deadly spread of cholera. It is worth noting that over 25,000 people from all over the world have made a similar plea to the UN through a petition initiated by filmmaker Oliver Stone. It is my earnest hope that the UN will listen and take action.”
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