CNN International reports that in July 2010, the executive board of the International Monetary Fund approved Wednesday the cancellation of Haiti’s $268 million debt to the fund.

The board also approved a three-year request by authorities to support Haiti’s reconstruction and growth program.
The decisions are part of an effort to support Haiti’s longer-term reconstruction plans after the January 12 earthquake .

While this is generally considered good news, some facts:

Haiti before the earthquake

  • More than 70% of people in Haiti were living on less than $US2 per day
  • 86% of people in Port au Prince were living in slum conditions – mostly tightly-packed, poorly-built, concrete buildings.
  • 80% of education in Haiti was provided in often poor-quality private schools, the state system generally provided better education but provided far too few places
  • Half of people in Port-au-Prince had no access to latrines and only one-third has access to tap water.

The Impact of the earthquake

  • Two million people living in the most affected area
  • 220,000 dead
  • Over 180,000 homes damaged or destroyed, 1.5m homeless
  • There are now 19 million cubic metres of rubble and debris in PaP – enough to fill a line of shipping containers stretching end to end from London to Beirut.
  • One and a half million people living in camps including over 100,000 at critical risk from storms and flooding
  • There are over 1,100 camps and 54 of these are home to 5,000 people or more
  • Over 600,000 people have left their home area in Port-au-Prince and mostly are staying with host families
  • Nearly 5,000 schools have been damaged or destroyed (July 2010)

Perhaps a speedier response from the IMF on debt and reconstruction assistance would have been more appropriate.

For a more comprehensive look at Haiti for facts figures and articles, visit the MCEER page on the subject.

Written by : Deyika Nzeribe