Haiti Needs $11.5 Billion, Report Says
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PORT-AU-PRINCE—Two months after an earthquake pulverized the country’s capital, Haiti authorities calculated they would need $11.5 billion over the next three years to get the nation back on its feet.
The number is part of the first thorough analysis prepared by the Haiti government, together with the United Nations and other international organizations, to assess the financial impact of the Jan. 12 earthquake and help plan rebuilding operations.
The assessment, a copy of which was seen by The Wall Street Journal, is an important milestone ahead of a planned New York conference on March 31 at which donor nations are expected to announce financial aid for Haiti.
The quake claimed more than 220,000 lives. It caused damages valued at $7.86 billion, or 120% of the country’s output last year, according to the report, which will be released later this week.
The government said its priority remained to prepare for this year’s rain and hurricane season, as nearly 15% of the population of nine million lives in makeshift shelters. But looking ahead, the report said that one of the main challenges would be to build a different Haiti, a country where authorities would anticipate natural disasters, support job creation and help relieve congestion in Port-au-Prince.
The report encapsulates the extent of the catastrophe: More than 300,000 people were wounded and 8.5% of workers lost their jobs; about 105,000 houses were flattened and 208,000 were damaged; 1,300 schools and 50 hospitals crumbled or can’t be used; the presidential palace and most ministries were destroyed. Haiti’s cellular-phone network, in a rare exception, suffered only minor damages.
Most damages, about 70%, affected the private sector, with damages to private houses alone estimated at $2.3 billion.
The government said the cost of rebuilding offices and houses would exceed damage estimates because authorities planned to enforce tougher building codes, with stringent antiseismic constraints.
The report said that in the next three years, Haiti would need $3.25 billion to rebuild houses, $600 million for schools, $294 million for hospitals, $100 million for city roads and $50 million to repair the Port-au-Prince port. Haiti authorities said they would rely on foreign contractors for part of the work because the country’s construction sector is too small to undertake such a task.
When planning for reconstruction, the government said it would focus on relocating activity outside Port-au-Prince. More than 500,000 Haitians left the ravaged capital after the quake and moved to the countryside.
“This is an opportunity to develop other growth areas,” the report said.
In addition to the U.N., the report was also prepared with the assistance of the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank and the European Union Commission
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