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Haiti's Slow Recovery Serves as Warning to Philippines

  • Reuters

FILE - People walk through a litter-filled street after residents of a camp for people displaced by Haiti's Jan. 2010 earthquake blocked streets after some tents were destroyed, Port-au-Prince, Feb. 15, 2013.

FILE - People walk through a litter-filled street after residents of a camp for people displaced by Haiti's Jan. 2010 earthquake blocked streets after some tents were destroyed, Port-au-Prince, Feb. 15, 2013.

As Filipinos continue digging out of the deadly destruction left by Typhoon Haiyan this past week, halfway across the world, another disaster offers some valuable lessons.

Haiti is still struggling to lift itself from the rubble left by the 2010 earthquake.

The quake killed some 230,000 people and left nearly two million homeless.

Some half a million still live in crowded tent camps, many without running water or electricity.

Despite billions of dollars pledged to help Haiti rebuild, reconstruction efforts remain painstakingly slow.

Johan Peleman, of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, blames Haiti's scale of destruction.

“We know that very well, durable solution is, yes, build new housing,” he said. "But in a city where hundreds of thousands of houses and apartments were utterly destroyed, you can't just do that overnight.”

In the Philippines, Haiyan has displaced more than half a million and many areas still have not received aid.

So far, millions of dollars have been donated to assist in recovery efforts, but the trick, Fanella Frost of the United Nations Development Program says, is for relief efforts to continue long after the disaster strikes.

“The aim in three years time in the Philippines, just as we had the aim here in Haiti, is to ensure that those communities that lost their houses are in safer living conditions that they were immediately when the cyclone hit,” said Frost.

Many of Haiti's problems have also been blamed on lack of oversight and poor planning - another lesson for those in the Philippines.

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