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Q&A: Reconstruction slow in Haiti

Reconstruction slow in Haiti

I have heard reports from Port-au-Prince that the rubble remains on the ground from the earthquake, tent cities have grown, residents are making housing inside dilapidated buildings, garbage is piled on the streets and the only buildings being built are of government interest. My question: Where did the charity funds go to rebuild Haiti for the people of Haiti?

It's true: Port-au-Prince looks much like it did in February, other than the fact that it's now raining every day. Of some 20 million cubic yards of rubble left by the disaster, less than 2 percent has been cleared. Serious reconstruction has not started.

Meanwhile, more people than ever are living under tarps and in tents: 1.6 million and counting. Some who didn't lose their homes can no longer afford rent or are following foreign aid to the camps. And the tarps are falling apart.

It's easy to look at all this and ask where the money went. The answer isn't so simple. A lot of secondary crises that could have happened didn't, or haven't yet, like disease outbreaks, flooding catastrophes or famine — and some of that can be traced to the aid effort.

And the Haitian government, which was severely compromised in the quake and not so capable before, says the slow pace of reconstruction is important for preventing corruption and planning a sustainable city.

But it's also reasonable to ask why more hasn't improved. Presidential elections and hurricanes are both potentially on the way. Now that the distraction of the World Cup is over, we may find out just how much frustration the grinding recovery has left behind.

Jesus statue was insured

The six-story foam Jesus statue that burned down in Monroe, Ohio, surely was known to have been flammable. Was it insured?

A spokesperson at Solid Rock Church in Monroe, Ohio, said that the "King of Kings" statue was insured, and adjusters have visited the church to assess the damage from the June 14 lightning strike that burned the plastic foam landmark and an adjacent amphitheater.

USA Today reported that the statue, which was nicknamed "Touchdown Jesus," was valued at $300,000 and the total damage was estimated at $700,000.

The Associated Press reported that the statue, which was 62 feet tall and 40 feet wide at the base, was considered one of southwest Ohio's most familiar landmarks since it was built in 2004 because of its location next to Interstate 75 just north of Cincinnati.

The church, on its website, solidrockchurch.org, says it plans to rebuild the statue and has a link for contributions.

Q&A: Reconstruction slow in Haiti 07/18/10 [Last modified: Friday, July 16, 2010 9:47pm]
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