Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hospitals Awash With Supplies But Struggle To Pay Staff

From Haitibones.org — In the months following the January 12 earthquake, donated medical equipment and supplies were shipped into Haiti by the container-full, overwhelming hospitals across this disaster-ravaged nation. Much of it will never get used, and even worse, the unopened boxes sometimes obstruct doctors from locating supplies they actually need to treat patients.
But organizations seem unwilling to donate the one thing Haitian hospitals say they desperately need: Money that can be spent at their discretion, for things like salaries, fuel for the generator, and oxygen.
Read the rest of the story by Sarah Ryley here.

Image of donated supplies at Hopital Adventiste by Tamara Fitzpatrick.

Haiti still waiting for pledged US aid

Jonathan M. Katz and Martha Mendoza, Associated Press — 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.

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. At fault: 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.

Nor is Haiti getting much from other donors. Some 50 other nations and organizations pledged a total of $8.75 billion for reconstruction, but just $686 million of that has reached Haiti so far - less than 15 percent of the total promised for 2010-11.

The lack of funds has all but halted reconstruction work by CHF International, the primary U.S.-funded group assigned to remove rubble and build temporary shelters. Just 2 percent of rubble has been cleared and 13,000 temporary shelters have been built - less than 10 percent of the number planned.

Last week the inaction bore tragic results. On Friday an isolated storm destroyed an estimated 8,000 tarps, tents and shacks in the capital and killed at least six people, including two children. And the threat of violence looms as landowners threaten entire camps with forced eviction.

In Washington there is confusion about the money. At a July hearing, Ravij Shah, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development, thanked members of Congress for approving the funds, saying, "The resources are flowing and are being spent in country."

It wasn't true then, and still hasn't happened.

full story here