- The Washington Times - Friday, October 18, 2013

Three years after an earthquake in Haiti that left 230,000 people dead, barely a third of U.S. promised aid has been given out and the aid effort faces ongoing challenges, a federal watchdog says.

The U.S. Agency for International Development so far has handed out just 35 percent of the $651 million the government authorized it to give for humanitarian relief. In total, the U.S. has said it will provide $1.14 billion in aid to the Haitian people.

So far, according to the new review, there have been mixed results. USAID was able to complete the first stage of construction for a power plant that’s now online and supplying electricity. But a project to repair a major port shipping facility is two years behind schedule, according to Congress’ chief watchdog agency, the Government Accountability Office.

And the U.S. funds might not cover the entire cost of the port, leaving the Haitian government at least $117 million short.

“The Haitian government may need to secure additional donor funding to build the port,” GAO said.

Plans to build housing for those displaced by the earthquake are also two years behind schedule, and USAID has had to downgrade its estimates on what it can complete.

An estimate of building 15,000 homes has now dwindled to just 2,600; and the number of people who could be helped by the new housing has also shrunk from 90,000 to 16,000, the GAO said.

USAID officials said they are committed to working with the Haitian people to repair the damages from the earthquake.

The small Caribbean nation, with an estimated population of almost 10 million, is the poorest country in North America.