PORT-AU-PRINCE, December 1, 2011- In the arduous, high-stakes Haiti reconstruction drama, every little number counts: one more roof over a family’s head, one more child sitting in a classroom and one more crop that came to fruition, is another step away from the nightmare that struck the nation on the evening of January 12, 2010.
Almost two years since a catastrophic earthquake killed thousands of Haitians and crippled the nation’s already uncertain future, moving away from such destruction is a tangible and measurable thing in Haiti.
Two thirds of those displaced and living in camps have now a proper roof over their heads, almost half of the debris from the quake has been cleared and most kids have gone back to school --the result of joint efforts by the international community and the Haitian government.
These achievements are not insignificant in a broader international context.
While it took two years for Haiti to remove over 4 million cubic metres of debris (close to 50 percent of the total amount), Indonesia spent more than five years to get rid of 1.3 million cubic metres after Aceh was hit by a tsunami in 2006, according to the United Nations.
It is critical for Haiti’s long term recovery that such advances are kept and the country moves further away from the catastrophe aftermath and into a sustainable future, according to the World Bank Special Envoy to Haiti, Alexandre Abrantes.
He says that a new World Bank strategy for the Caribbean nation will ensure that Haitians pick up where they left off and are well prepared to face future natural hazards. The 12-month strategy supports the return of 22,500 thousand displaced Haitians from camps to safe housing, improve neighborhoods for 75,000 people and finance tuition for 100,000 kids and school feeding for 75,000 children, Abrantes said.
In this video conversation, he further evaluates the progress made over the past two years and the challenges remaining for Haitians on their road to recovery.