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EU-Haiti aid hampered by island's politics

brussels bureau

EU-Haiti aid hampered by island's politics


Europe’s top aid officials say they are extremely concerned about Haitian politics, and that instability is preventing aid from reaching people and is slowing the rebuilding. The EU’s Development Commissioner says Haiti is still not set up to be able to use the outside financial help on offer.

Andris Piebalgs said: “In one year we could have done more… It’s true that we could have done more… The earthquake caused 14 billion euros in damage. When I speak about European pledges of 1.2 billion, you see the difference. Even if all the money had been spent, you would still see the rubble.”

Of the 1.2 billion euros in European aid only half has been spoken for, in projects to rebuild Haitian infrastructure or help Haitians directly. The EU is the world’s number one donor.

Political instability is a long-running problem for any well-intended assistance work, the Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva told euronews: “The biggest problem was and remains many decades of no development. No services, no institutions that can provide for the people, no jobs for young Haitians. This is where we are determined to make sure that we help Haiti to develop, so its resilience [in the face of] future disasters goes up.”

EU money goes into water, shelter and food, and consolidating the functions of the state, notably going to pay teachers, health workers and civil protection salaries. Buildings and roads are among the other key longer-term demands.

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