Haiti’s interim president said Tuesday Haiti is funding most of the clean up effort from Hurricane Matthew itself because foreign aid has not yet materialized to help the poverty-stricken country recover.
“Many countries have promised us aid – some support in kind, but others have made promises that have not yet materialized,” President Jocelerme Privert told reporters. “What we have done up to now, we have done with public resources withdrawn from the national treasury.”
Matthew is triggering a cholera epidemic throughout Haiti, while the death toll from the storm rose to 1,000 people Sunday.
Matthew slammed into the Southwestern section of Haiti Oct. 7 with 145 mile-per-hour winds and sheets of rains that left 1.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.
Local officials told reporters shortly after landfall that 1,000 people were killed by the storm in Haiti, which has a population of about 10 million. The U.N. claims more than 1.4 million Haitians will need assistance out of the 2.1 million affected by Matthew.
Pivert said Haiti shouldn’t sacrifice long-term gains for short-term reconstruction. The country can rebuild its infrastructure, but it will need help sheltering citizens and others who have lost homes, the president told reporters.
“The emergency is to assist the displaced people, those who find themselves in temporary shelters, who are deprived of water, deprived of food, of medication,” Privert said.
“It’s necessary to bring assistance with haste. The assistance would not need to be of an indefinite nature. We need to make sure that … people can return to their homes, rebuild their lives, restart agriculture to avoid that, after this state of emergency, that the country does not plunge into a food crisis, into a more serious crisis than the one caused by the hurricane.”
Haiti is currently the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 80 percent of the country’s population living under the poverty line and 54 percent in abject poverty, according to government records.
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