LESS than a year after Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, suffered yet another devastating earthquake that left 2,200 people dead, Guyana, on Wednesday last, pledged US$50,000 (about G$10M) to support the reconstruction of the Southern Peninsula in the country.
This support complements the over US$50,000 donated to the country, in September 2021, just one month after the earthquake hit the island.
The commitment was made by Ambassador Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Permanent Representative of Guyana to the United Nations, at an International Event for the Financing of the Reconstruction of the Southern Peninsula of Haiti, held in Port-au-Prince.
Early in the morning of August 134, 2021, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake rocked Haiti, causing hospitals, schools and homes to collapse, claiming hundreds of lives, and leaving communities in crisis. By mid-September, around 650,000 people, including about 260,000 children, were estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance.
More than 130,000 homes were destroyed or badly damaged and key infrastructure, including roads and bridges, were wrecked; children and their families were left needing urgent need health care and clean water. Several families were displaced and have still not been able to find stable shelter.
This natural disaster marked the second major earthquake to hit the country in the 21st century. In 2010, the country was hit with a 7.3-magnitude earthquake which struck off the coast of Haiti.
According to the Government of Haiti, the estimated cost of the reconstruction and recovery effort is almost US$2 billion. The Government of Haiti convened the hybrid conference, with the support of the United Nations, to seek funds for its reconstruction and recovery framework and action plan to address the outstanding needs.
In 2021, President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, said that the Government of Guyana had every intention to lend further assistance to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member State.
Speaking directly to the support given in September 2021, Dr. Ali said that Haiti had requested that money be sent directly to the country, instead of supplies.
Almost immediately after Haiti was devastated by the earthquake, Dr. Ali pledged his support to provide whatever assistance possible to the citizens of the island-nation.
At that time, the Office of the President, in a statement, said that President Ali was in telephone conversations with the Prime Minister of Haiti, Dr. Ariel Henry, and the Chairman of CARICOM, Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, to ascertain how Guyana can lend its assistance to Haiti’s relief and recovery efforts.
“Guyana’s support will be part of a regional relief and recovery initiative that will be coordinated by the Chairman of CARICOM,” the release had noted.
At the end of the conference on Wednesday, Haiti received some US$600 million, which is expected to start the ball rolling on the country’s recovery efforts.