State Department Names Special Haiti Recovery Coordinator
The U.S. State Department on Wednesday named a special recovery coordinator to oversee the recovery and reconstruction efforts in Haiti, according to BET.com. This appointment is in response to what is seen by many as the slow-moving efforts on the part of the U.S. and other countries in getting aid money to the earthquake-ravaged country.
Officials at the State Department told the Associated Press Wednesday that Thomas C. Adams, a 35-year veteran of the State Department and former recovery coordinator for Europe and Eurasia having overseen aid to 18 states from the former Soviet Union and eastern Europe, has already started the job in Haiti.
The news of the appointment came one day after the AP reported that none of the $1.15 billion in reconstruction aid that was pledged by the United States at a recent conference in March has arrived to Haiti. According to a U.S. Special Envoy to Bill Clinton, only about 15% of the aid money promised to the country has been delivered, none of which has come from the U.S. This has apparently caused many complaints about the slow and inefficient delivery of funds on the part of countries promising to send much-needed aid to the country, which, according to the same report on BET.com, still has some 1.3 million people on the streets nine months after the earthquake first struck.
So far, Washington has provided $1.1 billion in humanitarian aid since the quake. However, rebuilding cannot begin without the promised long-term reconstruction funds from the U.S. and others. These funds were approved by Congress during the summer but cannot be released until there is a formalized plan on how to spend them. The State Department sent lawmakers one such plan Sept. 20 and gave legislators 15 days to review it. The money can be released as soon as the review period expires.
The office of the special coordinator in Haiti will oversee both diplomatic relations and reconstruction strategy and efforts in the country, according to a memo obtained by the AP outlining details of Adams’ appointment from unnamed sources. Legislators have also proposed financing for the office of up to $5 million per year for five years, and will seek to employ seven people.