News / Americas

    Audit Finds US Housing Aid Program in Haiti Falls Short

    Haitian woman Romaine, one of the thousands made homeless by the 2010 earthquake, leans on a wall being built by the owners of the land where she lives in Shelter Camp 3, one of 385 informal 'tent cities' still existing since the disaster, in the Delmas suburb of Port-au-Prince, April 22, 2013.
    Haitian woman Romaine, one of the thousands made homeless by the 2010 earthquake, leans on a wall being built by the owners of the land where she lives in Shelter Camp 3, one of 385 informal 'tent cities' still existing since the disaster, in the Delmas suburb of Port-au-Prince, April 22, 2013.
    Reuters
    A post-earthquake housing program in Haiti funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has delivered only a quarter of the planned number of homes at nearly twice the budgeted cost, according to a government audit.
     
    The project was part of reconstruction efforts in Haiti, where a devastating earthquake in January 2010 killed more than 200,000 people, destroyed about 105,000 homes and severely damaged over 200,000 others.
     
    The temblor left almost 1.5 million people homeless in what was already the poorest country in the Americas.
     
    Quality controls and environmental standards in the USAID housing program were not always followed by contractors, said the audit, published late on Tuesday, adding that the agency widely underestimated the cost and complexity of building homes in Haiti.
     
    The program sought to build up to 4,000 new houses by December 2012 and provide 11,000 sites where new houses could be built.
     
    But 18 months after the scheduled end of the project, only 906 new houses have been completed and less than 6,220 sites fitted for construction while the budget jumped from $55 million to $90 million.
     
    The agency said the program was hampered by land tenure disputes that forced it to focus building mainly on government-owned land.
     
    “What's clear today is that efforts by USAID to help Haitians address their housing needs continue and are succeeding despite the many challenges of working in Haiti,” said John Groarke, USAID's mission director in Haiti.
     
    Some 328,000 people who were displaced by the quake have been helped by the USAID program, Groarke said.
     
    Last week, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said more than 137,000 Haitians are still living in camps of makeshift homes four years after the earthquake.
     
    Among families that have been offered a voucher that would cover a year's rent in a permanent home, some have returned to living in the camps after realizing their incomes are not enough to pay for rent once the voucher runs out, the IOM said.
     
    USAID is now assisting the Haitian government to convert some of the camps into more permanent communities by building roads and other infrastructure to help them from becoming slums, the agency said.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    More Americas News

    Brazilian Drug Lord Found Serving Time in Paraguay Prison ‘VIP’ Suite

    Raided by authorities, three-room ‘cell’ was found to have library, kitchen, conference room and even a plasma television

    Uruguay Formally Ends its Presidency of Mercosur Trade Bloc

    Ministry statement said there are no legal arguments for blocking transfer of presidency to Venezuela, it stopped short of announcing that Venezuela would now lead South American group

    Court: Brazil's Lula to Stand Trial for Obstruction of Justice

    Brazil's ex-president officially a defendant in sprawling corruption probe focused on state-run oil company Petrobras

    Australian Olympic Team Evacuated for Dorm Fire

    Small fire in basement of team living quarters caused no injuries; quality of Olympic housing for athletes sparks complaints

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    Cambodian-American Swimmer to Compete at Rio 2016

    Brown University student said he hopes to break his previous record for the men's 100-meter freestyle at Olympic Games