US-Haiti Envoy Urges Patience on Recovery

U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Kenneth Merten (2010 file photo)
U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Kenneth Merten (2010 file photo)

The U.S. ambassador to Haiti Kenneth Merten says it will take years to complete reconstruction efforts from the devastating 2010 earthquake.

Mertin  compared the pace of reconstruction efforts in Port-au-Prince to that of New York City's World Trade Center, which was destroyed in the 2001 terrorist attack and the area is still being rebuilt.

"There are a lot of actors on the ground in Haiti coordinating everybody's work," he said. "It's not an easy task, but reconstruction is happening and I think we have to keep pushing and make sure it happens as fast as possible."

Haiti's January 2010 earthquake killed more than 200,000 people and left millions homeless. A cholera epidemic following the quake claimed several thousand more lives.

The ambassador says the reconstruction has been complicated by problems with Haiti's infrastructure, which was in poor condition before the disaster, and a "limited capacity of government," as many officials were killed in the earthquake. He also noted the surprise resignation last month of Prime Minister Garry Conille after just four months in his post.

"As partners of Haiti we hope they work that out as quickly as possible because there are certain things that cannot happen without a government in place," Merten said. "We are eager and anxious to continue our work, [and] I would encourage all actors to put a government back into place as soon as possible."

Merten said he is proud the United States had a "very big, positive impact" in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, and he also credited the many actors on the ground who helped deliver food, water and shelter to the victims.

The ambassador said there was no concern about two former Haitian leaders, Jean-Bertrand Aristide and former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, living in their native land years after they were each forced into exile, describing the fact that both men are apparently staying out of politics as a sign that Haiti is a "mature, or maturing democracy."

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Comment Sorting
by: Henri Borno
March 19, 2012 8:38 PM
Looks like The Ambassador put His World Union on. Not bad. I did suggest that Haiti should have an established group of elite individuals that are, holy enough, by this I mean intelligent, to promote global unification as a means to every good we aspire. I mean, to be honest Ambassador, Haiti would truly define the flags motto. If a World Union promoting group were to emerge, we wouldn't need to try to get funding, it would, overflow.

by: Henri Borno
March 19, 2012 3:11 PM
Surely Haiti is a Royal treasure being kept. Saving the resources to protect the Royal families of today. From oil to gold, as a basic not only laughing so hard. Royal effort through the USA amongst other nations; USA in presidential rings just as a reminder of who is in charge. But who is to say? Borno understanding December the 21st as the best moment yet? I'll be the one to post a shovel on the flag instead of golden cannons. Peace to the good.

by: Winsor
March 17, 2012 9:33 AM
Haiti needs help more than ever. So people do what you can to help my country. Hopefully one day i can go to Haiti, and be proud of the work the people did. Thank you very much!!

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