H. R. 1016
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
To measure the progress of relief, recovery, reconstruction, and development efforts in Haiti following the earthquake of January 12, 2010, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Assessing Progress in Haiti Act.
Congress finds the following:
On January 12, 2010, an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter magnitude scale struck the country of Haiti.
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS)—
the earthquake epicenter was located approximately 15 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti; and
the earthquake was followed by 59 aftershocks of magnitude 4.5 or greater, the most severe measuring 6.0.
According to the Government of Haiti, more than 316,000 people died as a result of the earthquake, including 103 citizens of the United States and more than 100 United Nations personnel.
According to the United Nations and the International Organization for Migration—
an estimated 3,000,000 people were directly affected by the disaster, nearly one-third of the country’s population; and
more than 2,100,000 people were displaced from their homes to settlements.
Casualty numbers and infrastructure damage, including to roads, ports, hospitals, and residential dwellings, place the earthquake as the worst cataclysm to hit Haiti in over two centuries and, proportionally, one of the world’s worst natural disasters in modern times.
The Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) conducted by the Government of Haiti, the United Nations, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and other experts estimates that damage and economic losses totaled $7,804,000,000, approximately 120 percent of Haiti’s gross domestic product in 2009.
Haiti is the poorest, least developed country in the Western Hemisphere with, prior to the earthquake—
more than 70 percent of Haitians living on less than $2 per day; and
a ranking of 149 out of 182 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index.
House Resolution 1021, which was passed on January 21, 2010, on a vote of 411 to 1 expressed—
the House of Representatives’
deepest condolences and sympathy for the horrific loss of life caused by the earthquake; and
bipartisan support for Haiti’s recovery and reconstruction.
The initial emergency response of the men and women of the United States Government, led by the United States Agency for International Development and United States Southern Command, was swift and resolute.
United States urban search and rescue (USAR) teams were immediately activated after the earthquake and deployed from Fairfax County, Virginia, Los Angeles County, California, Miami-Dade, Florida, the City of Miami, Florida, and Virginia Beach, Virginia, to assist the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), and New York City’s first responders asked the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) to activate a New York City urban search and rescue shortly thereafter.
A month after the earthquake, the House of Representatives unanimously passed House Resolution 1059 which expressed gratitude to these USAR units, and highlighted that the 511 United States rescue workers comprised roughly one-third of the entire international USAR effort in Haiti, and more than 130 people were rescued from under the rubble in Haiti by these units.
Individuals, businesses, and philanthropic organizations across the United States and throughout the international community responded in support of Haiti and its populace during this crisis, sometimes in innovative ways such as fundraising through text messaging.
The Haitian diaspora in the United States, which was integral to emergency relief efforts—
has annually contributed significant monetary support to Haiti through remittances; and
continues to seek opportunities to partner with the United States Agency for International Development and other agencies to substantively contribute to the reconstruction of Haiti.
Significant challenges still remain in Haiti as it works to recover and rebuild.
According to the International Organization for Migration, approximately 680,000 people remain in spontaneous and organized camps in Haiti.
According to numerous nongovernmental organizations and United States contractors, the pace of reconstruction has lagged significantly behind the original emergency relief phase.
The widespread irregularities that occurred in the elections held in Haiti on November 28, 2010, led to outbursts of violence which undermined the recovery efforts.
On October 21, 2010, an outbreak of cholera was detected in the Lower Artibonite region.
Initial efforts to contain the epidemic were disrupted by Hurricane Tomás and resulting widespread flooding, which led to the spreading and entrenchment of the disease throughout the country.
According to the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population, as of March 28, 2011—
approximately 4,766 people have died from cholera; and
approximately 270,991 have been infected from the disease.
According to the Pan American Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cholera could spread to as many as 400,000 people within the first year of the epidemic, potentially causing 7,600 deaths at the current case fatality rate.
The United States has provided more than $62,523,017 worth of assistance to combat the cholera epidemic, including by assisting with stockpiling health commodities, equipping cholera treatments centers, providing public information, and improving water and sanitation systems.
The efforts to combat the cholera epidemic have helped to drive the mortality rate from cholera down from nearly 7 percent to 1.7 percent of all contracted cases as of February 25, 2011.
Throughout the series of crises, the people of Haiti continue to demonstrate unwavering resilience, dignity, and courage.
On March 20, 2011, presidential and parliamentary elections were held in Haiti without major disruptions or problems.
At the international donors conference
Towards a New Future for Haiti held on March 31, 2010, 59 donors pledged over $5,000,000,000 to support Haiti.
The United Nations Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti estimates that nearly $1,900,000,000 has been disbursed, with an additional amount of approximately $2,000,000,000 committed.
Haiti will need the support of the international community in order to confront the ongoing cholera epidemic and to promote reconstruction and development.
Not later than six months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President, in consultation with the heads of all relevant agencies, including the Department of State, the United States Agency for International Development, the Department of Defense, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shall transmit to Congress a report on the status of post-earthquake humanitarian, reconstruction, and development efforts in Haiti, including efforts to prevent the spread of cholera and treat persons infected with the disease.
The report required by subsection (a) shall include a description, analysis, and evaluation of the—
overall progress of relief, recovery, and reconstruction in Haiti, including—
programs and projects of the United States Government;
programs and projects to protect vulnerable populations, such as internally displaced persons, children, women and girls, and persons with disabilities; and
projects to improve water, sanitation, and health, and plans for improvements in these areas in the long-term;
extent to which United States and international efforts are in line with the priorities of the Government of Haiti and are actively engaging and working through Haitian ministries and local authorities;
coordination among United States Government agencies, and coordination between the United States Government and United Nations agencies, international financial institutions, and other bilateral donors;
mechanisms for communicating the progress of recovery and reconstruction efforts to Haitian citizens, as well as recommendations on how these can be improved;
mechanisms through which Haitian civil society, including vulnerable populations, is actively participating in all major stages of recovery and reconstruction efforts, and recommendations on how these can be improved;
mechanisms through which the Haitian diaspora is involved in recovery and reconstruction efforts; and
suitability of Haiti to receive aliens who are removed, excluded, or deported from the United States pursuant to United States law, and steps Haiti is taking to strengthen its capacity in this regard.
Use of previously appropriated funds
Funding for the report required under subsection (a) shall derive from existing discretionary funds of the departments and agencies specified in such subsection.
Passed the House of Representatives May 10, 2011.
Karen L. Haas,