The Haitian government this week presented to international donors at a special United Nations conference in New York a $3.9-billion plan to rebuild the country, which was devastated by a Jan. 12 earthquake that killed more than 300,000 people.
The plan calls for shifting economic development away from the Haitian capital of Port au Prince to a series of new economic development zones linked to new roads, airports and port facilities. It is the first step in a reconstruction program that Haiti hopes will funnel more than $11-billion in international aid into the country over the next 10 years.
“Rebuilding Haiti does not mean returning to the situation that prevailed before the earthquake,” the 56-page Action Plan for National Recovery and Development says. “It means addressing all these areas of vulnerability, so that the vagaries of nature or natural disasters never again inflict such suffering or cause so much damage and loss.”
Haiti’s redevelopment plan is divided into two phases—an immediate stabilization and recovery period that lasts 18 months and costs $3.9-billion and a longer-term 10-year plan that focuses on economic growth and poverty reduction and could cost an extra $7.2-billion. The recovery plan sets targets for re-housing 1.3 million homeless people and rebuilding 1,300 schools and 50 destroyed hospitals. It also calls for refurbishing the Port-au-Prince airport, relocating the main port, building two new regional airports, two new sea ports and over 600 kilometers of new roads to promote trade and tourism.
The plans call for establishing new economic zones in Cap Haitien, Les Gonaives, St. Marc, Hinche and Les Cayes to ease pressure on Port-au-Prince, which prior to the earthquake accounted for 65% of Haiti’s economic activity and 85% of all government tax revenues.
Currently, there are approximately 1.2-million people living in over 460 emergency squatter camps in Haiti.. The report says at least 250,000 people are living in 21 camps that pose serious health and safety risks and need to be relocated immediately.