Haitian earthquake reconstruction to take at least a decade, minister says

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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Rebuilding quake-stricken Haiti will take at least a decade, said Canada's foreign affairs minister as he urged patience with "a long-term process."
Haitian reconstruction is a "monumental task requiring a sustained effort and a long-term commitment," Lawrence Cannon told a news conference Monday marking the earthquake's six-month anniversary.
"It is not enough to restore the country's infrastructure," Cannon said. "Institutions and systems must be entirely rebuilt so that they can then be taken over by Haitians themselves and supported by the international community."
He said donors can be happy with "some of the progress" achieved in Haiti, but he acknowledged there is still much to be done.
"I certainly understand people's impatience at the very difficult circumstances that hundreds of thousands of Haitians find themselves in," he said.
"However, we think it is important to point out that rebuilding Haiti is a long-term process that will take at least 10 years, according to experts."
Some 240,000 people are believed to have been killed in the magnitude-7.0 quake last Jan. 12, including 58 Canadians.
International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda said Canada has distributed $150 million of about $500 million it has pledged for earthquake relief.
The money has gone to support humanitarian and early recovery work, including provision of transitional shelters, rubble removal, water and sanitation, child protection and education and logistics.
Canada also committed $555 million over five years to country programs in Haiti in 2006. Canada's current commitments to Haiti total more than $1 billion.
This is a significant contribution," said Oda, "and I believe a co-ordinated and managed approach over the long term is as important as short-term assistance.
"Recently some have expressed frustrations at slower-than-anticipated progress ... on the ground. This may be understandable.
"However ... Canada will take an active role in ensuring that our aid and development support is spent wisely and accountably, while encouraging the resolution of many major challenges that exist."

Organizations: International Co

Geographic location: Haiti, Canada

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