H.Res. 31: Recognizing the anniversary of the tragic earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010, honoring those who lost their ...

...lives, and expressing continued solidarity with the Haitian people.

113th Congress, 2013–2015. Text as of Jan 15, 2013 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO and Cato Institute Deepbills

IV

113th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. RES. 31

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

January 15, 2013

(for herself, Ms. Bordallo, Ms. Brown of Florida, Mr. Capuano, Ms. Clarke, Mr. Ellison, Ms. Wilson of Florida, Mr. Deutch, Mr. Van Hollen, Mr. Meeks, Ms. Jackson Lee, Ms. Meng, Mr. McGovern, Mr. Payne, and Ms. Norton) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs

RESOLUTION

Recognizing the anniversary of the tragic earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010, honoring those who lost their lives, and expressing continued solidarity with the Haitian people.

Whereas on January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the country of Haiti;

Whereas according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the earthquake epicenter was located approximately 15 miles southwest of the capital, Port-au-Prince;

Whereas according to USGS, the earthquake was followed by 59 aftershocks of magnitude 4.5 or greater, the most severe measuring 6.0;

Whereas according to the Government of Haiti, more than 316,000 people died as a result of the earthquake;

Whereas according to the United Nations and the International Organization for Migration, an estimated 3,000,000 people have been directly affected by the disaster, nearly one-third of the country’s population, and 1,300,000 people were displaced to settlements;

Whereas 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;

Whereas 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 $7,800,000,000, approximately 120 percent of Haiti’s gross domestic product in 2009;

Whereas the PDNA estimates that $11,500,000,000 over three years is required for Haiti’s reconstruction and to lay the groundwork for long-term development;

Whereas prior to the earthquake, more than 70 percent of Haitians lived on less than $2 per day and Haiti ranked 158 out of 187 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index;

Whereas prior to the earthquake, Haiti was still in the process of recovering from a catastrophic series of hurricanes and tropical storms, food shortages and rising commodity prices, and political instability, but was showing encouraging signs of improvement;

Whereas President Barack Obama vowed the “unwavering support” of the United States and pledged a “swift, coordinated and aggressive effort to save lives and support the recovery in Haiti”;

Whereas Congress passed House Resolution 1021 on January 21, 2010, on a vote of 411 to 1, expressing its “deepest condolences and sympathy for the horrific loss of life” and bipartisan “support for the recovery and long-term reconstruction needs of Haiti”;

Whereas the response to the tragedy from the global community, and especially from the countries of the Western Hemisphere, has been overwhelmingly positive;

Whereas 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;

Whereas 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, which some estimates reveal has raised more than $40,000,000;

Whereas significant challenges still remain in Haiti as it works to recover and rebuild;

Whereas according to the International Organization for Migration, approximately 360,000 people remain in spontaneous and organized camps in Haiti and hundreds of thousands of Haiti’s poor continue to live in precarious housing conditions that make them vulnerable to potential future natural disasters;

Whereas in 2012 alone, Haiti faced a long drought period and 2 major tropical storms that destroyed 70 percent of agricultural crops in Haiti, impacting the lives of nearly 2,000,000 people facing food insecurity;

Whereas a devastated agricultural sector has a ripple effect throughout the Haitian economy and affects the most vulnerable, particularly children and poor women and men;

Whereas Haiti’s food insecurity results largely from entrenched neglect of its agricultural sector, particularly smallholder farmers who grow most of the Haitian food, and account for a large percentage of the food insecure populations;

Whereas according to numerous nongovernmental organizations and United States contractors, the pace of reconstruction has lagged significantly behind the original emergency relief phase;

Whereas according to an independent United Nations panel investigation, on October 19, 2010, an outbreak of cholera was detected in the Lower Artibonite region, originating from a tributary near the Minustah camp at Mirebelais, where the panel found that sanitation conditions “were not sufficient to prevent fecal contamination of the Meye Tributary System of the Artibonite River”;

Whereas 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;

Whereas according to the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population, as of December 12, 2012, more than 7,820 people have died from cholera and more than 629,000 have been infected;

Whereas according to the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization, cholera could spread to 118,000 people within the next year, potentially causing over 1,400 deaths at the current case fatality rate;

Whereas the Governments of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, jointly with the Pan American Health Organization, the United Nations Children's Fund, and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have developed a 10-year plan to eliminate cholera from Hispaniola through treatment, hygiene education, and the building of sustainable water and sanitation infrastructure;

Whereas the United Nations Secretary-General announced that only approximately 10 percent of the funds needed to execute this plan have been secured;

Whereas throughout these crises, the people of Haiti continue to demonstrate unwavering resilience, dignity, and courage;

Whereas at the international donors conference “Towards a New Future for Haiti” held on March 31, 2010, 59 donors pledged approximately $5,600,000,000, including nearly $1,150,000,000 from the United States, to support the Government of Haiti’s Action Plan for National Recovery and Development;

Whereas the United Nations Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti estimates that of the recovery and development funds pledged for 2010 through 2012, approximately 53 percent has been disbursed; and

Whereas Haiti requires the sustained assistance from the United States and the international community in order to confront the ongoing cholera epidemic and promote reconstruction and development: Now, therefore, be it

That the House of Representatives

(1)

honors those who lost their lives due to the tragic earthquake of January 12, 2010;

(2)

honors the sacrifice of the men and women of the Government of Haiti, the United States Government, the United Nations, and the international community in their response to those affected by the calamity;

(3)

expresses continued solidarity with the people of Haiti as they work to rebuild their neighborhoods, livelihoods, and country;

(4)

reaffirms its commitment to support Haiti, in partnership with the Government of Haiti and in coordination with other donors, in long-term reconstruction;

(5)

supports the efforts of the Administration to increase food security in Haiti through sustainable agriculture programs, shore up housing initiatives for Haiti’s poor and vulnerable, prevent the spread of cholera, treat persons who contract the disease, provide technical assistance to the Haitian Ministry of Public Health, and improve longer-term water, sanitation, and health systems;

(6)

urges the President and the international community to—

(A)

continue to focus assistance on building the capacity of Haiti’s public sector to sustainably provide basic services to its people;

(B)

develop, improve, and scale-up communications and participatory mechanisms to more substantially involve Haitian civil society at all stages of the post-earthquake responses; and

(C)

give priority to programs that protect and involve vulnerable populations, including internally displaced persons, children, women and girls, and persons with disabilities;

(7)

urges the President to—

(A)

continue to make available to United States agencies, nongovernmental organizations, private volunteer organizations, regional institutions, and United Nations agencies the resources necessary to confront the consequences of the natural disaster;

(B)

support the efforts of the United Nations Secretary-General to secure the necessary resources required to fully execute plans to eliminate cholera from the island of Hispaniola through enhanced treatment and prevention efforts, and through the development of clean water and sanitation infrastructure that is accessible to all Haitians;

(C)

continue to lead humanitarian and development efforts with the Government of Haiti, the Haitian Diaspora, and international actors who share in the goal of a better future for Haiti;

(D)

maximize responsible local and regional procurement;

(E)

establish improved and transparent mechanisms for monitoring the implementation of United States Government-funded aid programs; and

(F)

work with Haitian authorities and private landowners to prevent the forced eviction of internally displaced person communities and provide decent housing for the poorest and most vulnerable Haitians; and

(8)

desires a clear understanding for what would constitute success in the priority areas identified by the United States Department of State.