Assessing U.S. Response to Haiti Earthquake One Year Later

A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti just before 5 p.m. on Jan. 12, 2010, killing 230,000 and crippling 28 of its 29 government ministries. The quake wiped out most shelter, clean water and power for the island’s inhabitants.

In this interview on the website, Kara McDonald, deputy coordinator of U.S. Haiti reconstruction efforts, goes through both the short-term and long-term efforts of her office. The U.S. was joined by 140 countries in emergency assistance to Haiti immediately after the quake.

U.S. efforts involved seven domestic agencies, including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of Health and Human Services. The cooperation across agencies “started in the emergency environment” and is continuing in the long-term strategy, McDonald says.

In the disaster’s immediate aftermath, USAID joined with the United Nations World Food Programme in the largest urban food distribution effort in history, feeding more than 3.5 million people. In the 10 months following the quake, more rubble has been removed in Haiti than was removed in the 2½ years following the tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia.

The long-term strategy involves improvements to Haiti’s infrastructure, agriculture, health and rule of law.

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