Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, is part of a congressional delegation visiting Haiti today to examine recovery efforts following the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake. The trip comes just a week before the Haiti Donors Conference, for which the international community will gather at the United Nations in New York City to make long-term commitments towards Haiti’s reconstruction.
“Now, more than ever, the people of Haiti require the coordinated and sustained commitment of the Untied States,” Lee said in a news release. “As Congress prepares to consider the Haiti supplemental appropriations bill, this trip will give us an opportunity to survey ongoing recovery efforts and to determine what resources are still needed, both in terms of short-term relief in advance of the rainy season as well as long-term rebuilding.”
(Lee’s staff, which provided this photo, says the man with the guitar is blind and singing something to the effect of “I am blind, give me some food.”)
“The people of Haiti have been courageous and resilient throughout this tragedy. However, we must ensure that the United States and the international community are doing all we can to not simply ‘rebuild Haiti’ back to what it was pre-earthquake, but to empower Haitians to transform their country into one that can sustain itself and provide for the basic needs and rights of its people. ”
The Congressional Black Caucus, which Lee chairs, this week held a forum on Haiti entitled, “The Road to Recovery;” attending were USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, Haitian Ambassador to the U.S. Raymond Joseph, and numerous other Haiti experts discussing the historical significance of U.S.-Haiti relations as well as policy prescriptions and opportunities for rebuilding.