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Y 4.F 76/1:110-227
THE HURRICANES IN HAITI:
DISASTER AND RECOVERY
THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED TENTH CONGRESS
SEPTEMBER 23, 2008
Serial No. 110-227
Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
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COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California, Chairman
GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
BRAD SHERMAN, California
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York
BILL DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
DIANE E. WATSON, California
ADAM SMITH, Washington
RUSS CARNAHAN, Missouri
JOHN S. TANNER, Tennessee
GENE GREEN, Texas
LYNN C. WOOLSEY, California
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
RUBEN HINOJOSA, Texas
JOSEPH CROWLEY, New York
DAVID WU, Oregon
BRAD MILLER, North Carolina
LINDA T. SANCHEZ, California
DAVID SCOTT, Georgia
JIM COSTA, California
ALBIO SIRES, New Jersey
GABRIELLE GIFFORDS, Arizona
RON KLEIN, Florida
BARBARA LEE, California
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey
DAN BURTON, Indiana
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
DANA ROHRABACHER, California
DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
THOMAS G. TANCREDO, Colorado
RON PAUL, Texas
JEFF FLAKE, Arizona
MIKE PENCE, Indiana
JOE WILSON, South Carolina
JOHN BOOZMAN, Arkansas
J. GRESHAM BARRETT, South Carolina
CONNIE MACK, Florida
JEFF FORTENBERRY, Nebraska
MICHAEL T. McCAUL, Texas
TED POE, Texas
BOB INGLIS, South Carolina
LUIS G. FORTUNE, Puerto Rico
GUS BILIRAKIS, Florida
ROBERT R. KING, Staff Director
YLEEM POBLETE, Republican Staff Director
SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE
ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York, Chairman
GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York DAN BURTON, Indiana
LINDA T. SANCHEZ, California CONNIE MACK, Florida
ALBIO SIRES, New Jersey, MICHAEL T. McCAUL, Texas
Vice Chair LUIS G. FORTUNO, Puerto Rico
GABRIELLE GIFFORDS, Arizona CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey
ENI F. H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American ELTON GALLEGLY, California
Samoa RON PAUL, Texas
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey VACANT
BILL DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
RON KLEIN, Florida
GENE GREEN, Texas
JASON STEINBAUM, Subcommittee Staff Director
ERIC JACOBSTEIN, Subcommittee Professional Staff Member
MARK WALKER, Republican Professional Staff Member
JULIE SCHOENTHALER, Staff Associate
The Honorable Maxine Waters, a Representative in Congress from the State
of C alifornia .................................................................................................... 6
The Honorable Alcee L. Hastings, a Representative in Congress from the
State of Florida ................................................................................................ 9
The Honorable Barbara Lee, a Representative in Congress from the State
of California .................................................................................................... 13
The Honorable Kendrick B. Meek, a Representative in Congress from the
State of Florida ............................................................................................... 17
The Honorable Yvette D. Clarke, a Representative in Congress from the
State of N ew Y ork ............................................................ ................................ 20
The Honorable Donna F. Edwards, a Representative in Congress from the
State of M aryland ................................................................................................ 25
Ms. Kirsten D. Madison, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Western
Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Department of State ......................................... 33
Mr. Jose R. Cardenas, Acting Assistant Administrator, Latin America and
Caribbean Bureau, U.S. Agency for International Development .................. 36
Rear Admiral Joseph D. Kernan, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern
Command, U.S. 4th Fleet ..................................................... ....................... 40
Mathieu Eugene, Ph.D., Member, New York City Council ............................... 60
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
The Honorable Eliot L. Engel, a Representative in Congress from the State
of New York, and Chairman, Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere:
Prepared state ent ......................................................... ............................. 3
The Honorable Albio Sires, a Representative in Congress from the State
of New Jersey: Prepared statement ............................................................. 6
The Honorable Maxine Waters: Prepared statement ......................................... 8
The Honorable Alcee L. Hastings: Prepared statement .................................... 11
The Honorable Barbara Lee: Prepared statement .............................................. 15
The Honorable Kendrick B. Meek: Prepared statement ................................... 18
The Honorable Yvette D. Clarke: Prepared statement ...................................... 21
The Honorable Donna F. Edwards: Prepared statement .................................. 27
Ms. Kirsten D. Madison: Prepared statement .................................... ........... 35
Mr. Jos6 R. Cardenas: Prepared statement .................................................. 37
Rear Admiral Joseph D. Kernan: Prepared statement ..................................... 42
The Honorable Dan Burton, a Representative in Congress from the State
of Indiana: Prepared statement ................................................ .................. 59
Mathieu Eugene, Ph.D.: Prepared statement ................................................ 62
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record ......................... ................... 67
THE HURRICANES IN HAITI: DISASTER AND
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2008
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE,
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:11 a.m. in room
2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Eliot L. Engel (chair-
Mr. ENGEL. Good morning. A quorum being present, since Mr.
Delahunt and I are very important, the Subcommittee on the West-
ern Hemisphere of the Foreign Affairs Committee will come to
order. I am told Mr. Burton will be a little bit late. We are going
to begin before he comes, which he has agreed to.
I am pleased to welcome everyone to today's hearing on the
"Hurricanes in Haiti: Disaster and Recovery." This is an emergency
hearing. Some of our colleagues who have just come back from
Haiti have spoken with me, and we all put our heads together and
thought that this would be a good time to do this hearing to, hope-
fully, try to put a little pressure on the Congress and other powers
that be that we need more aid for Haiti, and we need it now.
This has, obviously, been an extraordinarily difficult year for
Haiti, from food riots to a lengthy inability to select a Prime Min-
ister and, most recently, to the devastation by four hurricanes and
tropical storms: Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike. Haiti deserves a
break, to say the least.
The devastation from these storms has been massive. To date,
more than 420 people have been killed by the storms and flooding,
more than 10,000 dwellings have been destroyed, and more than
151,000 people have been displaced from their homes. Eight agen-
cies in Haiti are warning of severe outbreaks of disease as thou-
sands of people remain in squalid, cramped shelters.
Relief workers in Gonaives, which was hit the hardest by the
storms, have struggled to reach thousands of people who fled to
higher ground. Because the hurricanes brought down bridges, 30
percent of that town remains inaccessible, making approach only
possible by helicopter and boat. Houses there which were not de-
stroyed by the wind, rains, and flooding were swamped under two
to three feet of mud.
In several regions, agriculture has been left in ruins, leaving
hundreds of thousands in need of food, water, emergency housing,
and health services for at least the next 6 months.
The disaster has compounded an already difficult situation for
the new government of Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis and
further demonstrated the fragility of Haiti's physical and social in-
According to the U.N. Special Envoy for Haiti, Hedi Annabi:
"This is a humanitarian catastrophe of a scale that is beyond
the capacity of the government or of the United Nations sta-
bilization mission here. It requires an exceptional effort from
bilateral donors, from those countries in the region or beyond
that have the kinds of assets that are required to deal with
such an emergency."
Even before the most recent emergency, the United States al-
ready had a very large aid program in Haiti. This year alone, we
are providing more than $270 million in assistance, including $45
million in food aid, in response to the crisis earlier in the year.
However, given the scale of the recent calamity, it is obvious that
more help is now urgently needed. The U.S. is now delivering al-
most $30 million in additional emergency aid, and the USS Kear-
sarge, a large-deck helicopter carrier, is anchored off the coast of
Gonaives, with large helicopters delivering provisions.
MINUSTAH, the United Nations peacekeeping mission, is doing
what it can to preserve the peace and maintain order, but it will
not be able to keep the lid on forever if people have nothing to eat.
As of September 17th, just last week, a total of 1,042 metric tons
of emergency food commodities had been distributed to more than
245,000 people, and while that is notable, it, quite simply, is not
At this subcommittee's hearing 1 week ago, International Crisis
Group Senior Vice President and Special Adviser on Latin America
Mark Schneider cautioned that while the U.N. is calling for $100
million in immediate, life-saving relief aid, and I quote him, "a
massive recovery and reconstruction plan is required and likely to
cost closer to $1 billion."
This would involve repairing, rebuilding, and refurbishing the
economic infrastructure, schools, and health clinics, making up for
lost harvests, and replacing irrigation systems and farm-to-market
roads. A Herculean task, no doubt.
Since one more storm might just be enough to push Haiti over
the edge, we must do more. Given that these types of catastrophes
are happening in Haiti with unfortunate regularity, the inter-
national community needs not only to have a plan in place to man-
age a future crisis, but we must preposition stocks of food and
other supplies in the region.
I am interested to learn from our Government witnesses today
what we are doing to prepare for the next crisis.
Along those lines, we need to help Haiti reforest the hillsides
right away so the next tropical storm does not create the intense
flooding the previous four have. By focusing on the most problem-
atic watersheds, with labor-intensive reforestation, we could take
three key steps at the same time: Environmental restoration, flood
minimization, and unemployment reduction.
It is my hope that the subcommittee will explore many of these
questions today. I am particularly looking forward to hearing the
reports of my colleagues who have particular expertise and years
of experience working to help Haiti. I urge the administration offi-
cials who will soon be testifying to consider carefully what my col-
leagues who will testify have to say.
I am also looking forward to the testimony by the administration
to learn more about our relief efforts and how we are working to
avert, but at the same time planning for, the next crisis.
Given United States disaster-relief efforts in Central America
after Hurricane Mitch and our past efforts in Haiti and the Carib-
bean, I would also like to hear from the administration why we are
not quite as prepared to deal with the current disaster as we
Finally, our third panel will certainly round out our view of the
crisis with an elected official's sense of the impact on the Haitian-
I will now, with that, call on my friend, Mr. Delahunt, for his
[The prepared statement of Mr. Engel follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE ELIOT L. ENGEL, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK, AND CHAIRMAN, SUBCOMMITTEE ON
THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE
A quorum being present, the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere will come
I am pleased to welcome you to today's hearing on "The Hurricanes in Haiti: Dis-
aster and Recovery." This has been an extraordinarily difficult year for Haiti. From
food riots, to a lengthy inability to select a prime minister, and, most recently, to
the devastation by four hurricanes and tropical storms, Fay, Gustav, Hannah, and
Ike, Haiti deserves a break, to say the least.
The devastation from these storms has been massive. To date, more than 420 peo-
ple have been killed by the storms and flooding, more than 10,000 dwellings have
been destroyed, and more than 151,000 people have been displaced from their
homes. Aid agencies in Haiti are warning of severe outbreaks of disease as thou-
sands of people remain in squalid, cramped shelters.
Relief workers in Gonaives, which was hit the hardest by the storms, have strug-
gled to reach thousands of people who fled to higher ground. Because the hurricanes
brought down bridges, 30% of Gonaives remains inaccessible, making approach only
possible by helicopter and boat. Houses in Gonaives which were not destroyed by
the wind, rains, and flooding were swamped under two to three feet of mud. In sev-
eral regions, agriculture has been left in ruins, leaving hundreds of thousands in
need of food, water, emergency housing, and health services for at least the next
six months. The disaster has compounded an already difficult situation for the new
government of Prime Minister Michelle Pierre-Louis and further demonstrated the
fragility of Haiti's physical and social infrastructure.
According to the U.N. Special Envoy for Haiti, Hedi Annabi, "This is a humani-
tarian catastrophe of a scale that is beyond the capacity of the government, [or] of
the UN stabilization mission here. It requires an exceptional effort from bilateral
donors, from those countries in the region, or beyond, that have the kind of assets
that are required to deal with such an emergency."
Even before the most recent emergency, the United States already had a very
large aid program in Haiti. This year alone, we are providing more than $270 mil-
lion in assistance, including $45 million in food aid in response to the crisis of ear-
lier in the year.
However, given the scale of the recent calamity, it was obvious that more help
was urgently needed. The U.S. is now delivering almost $30 million in additional
emergency aid, and the USS Kearsarge, a large deck helicopter carrier, is anchored
off the coast of Gonaives with large helicopters delivering provisions.
MINUSTAH, the United Nations peacekeeping mission, is doing what it can to
preserve the peace and maintain order, but it won't be able to keep the lid on for-
ever if people have nothing to eat. As of September 17, a total of 1,042 metric tons
of emergency food commodities had been distributed to more than 245,000 people-
and while that is notable, it quite simply is not enough.
At this Subcommittee's hearing one week ago, International Crisis Group Senior
Vice President and Special Advisor on Latin America Mark Schneider cautioned
that while the U.N. is calling for $100 million in immediate life-saving relief aid,
"a massive recovery and reconstruction plan is required and likely to cost closer to
$1 billion." This would involve repairing, rebuilding and refurbishing the economic
infrastructure, schools, and health clinics, making up for lost harvests, and replac-
ing irrigation systems and farm-to-market roads. A herculean task, no doubt.
Since one more storm might just be enough to push Haiti over the edge, we must
do more. Given that these types of catastrophes are happening in Haiti with unfor-
tunate regularity, the international community needs not only to have a plan in
place to manage a future crisis, but we must preposition stocks of food and other
supplies in the region. I am interested to learn from our government witnesses
today what we are doing to prepare for the next crisis.
Along those lines, we need to help Haiti reforest the hillsides right away, so the
next tropical storm does not create the intense flooding the previous four have. By
focusing on the most problematic watersheds with labor intensive reforestation, we
could take three key steps at the same time: environmental restoration, flood mini-
mization, and unemployment reduction.
It is my hope that the Subcommittee will explore many of these questions today.
I am particularly looking forward to hearing the reports of my colleagues who have
particular expertise and years of experience working to help Haiti. I urge the Ad-
ministration officials who will soon be testifying to consider carefully what they
have to say.
I am also looking forward to the testimony by the Administration to learn more
about our relief efforts and how we are working to avert, but at the same time plan-
ning for, the next crisis. Given US disaster relief efforts in Central America after
Hurricane Mitch and our past efforts in Haiti and the Caribbean, I would also like
to hear from the Administration why we are not quite as prepared to deal with the
current disaster as we should be. Finally, our third panel will certainly round out
our view of the crisis with an elected official's sense of the impact on the Haitian
With that, I would like to call on the Ranking Member, Mr. Burton, for his open-
Mr. DELAHUNT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As I look out at this
group of our colleagues, I have traveled to Haiti with many of
them. I remember traveling with Mr. Hastings and with the former
senator from Florida, Bob Graham. I remember visiting the former
Prime Minister, who I consider a hero, in a hospital where he was
unfairly incarcerated-I refer to Mr. Yvon Neptune-with Maxine
Waters, and I, obviously, am aware of Mr. Meek's recent trip and
his efforts. But each and every one of these Members has been a
strong advocate for Haiti.
I think it is clear that we can do better for Haiti-it has had
such a tragic history-especially when we consider that, last week,
we approved, in this committee, a $1-billion assistance program for
another nation, Georgia, in the aftermath of that conflict between
Georgia and Russia; a war, by the way, in which it is clear now
that Georgia launched the first assault, despite an urgent plea buy
our own Department of State not to do so.
As far as I can tell, that $1-billion figure was pulled out of the
air. There does not appear to be any substantial analysis as to
needs that was done by the administration. It was announced so
quickly that I think it caught many of us off guard. But we were
told that monies could be found in existing accounts. No new
money was going to be necessary, at least for the initial phase.
So we know that there is money out there, and yet we are talk-
ing about $30 million for Haiti. That does not compute. It just does
I think you indicated, Mr. Chairman, and certainly it has been
reported multiple times in the media, that Haiti desperately needs
assistance to avoid mass hunger and, yes, starvation.
To quote President Preval, "These storms amounted to a Katrina
for the entire island." For the entire island.
You referenced a $1-billion figure in your opening statement, Mr.
Chairman, but our own USAID administrator, Henrietta Fore, had
this to say in a recent report: "This will take billions of dollars, un-
derscore billions, not a billion, but billions of dollars."
By the way, I know that USAID, the Coast Guard, our Embassy
personnel on the ground there are doing extraordinary work. I
want to commend them for their efforts. But it is not enough.
More resources have to be devoted because what is occurring on
that island is a true humanitarian disaster underway. The dis-
parity in relief between that which we are willing to do for Georgia
and that what we are talking about doing for Haiti is unacceptable.
More people are facing disease and hunger 200 miles from our
shores than in a country halfway around the world. More Haitians
will risk their lives, and probably lose them, as they attempt to flee
that desperate humanitarian situation.
By the way, more people have died in Haiti than died in that
brief conflict, tragic as it may be, in Georgia.
Now, I understand the concerns about Haiti's Government, the
Haitian Government's ability to absorb assistance. I have been to
Haiti often enough and am familiar to know that that state has
profound limitations. But there are other avenues to ensure that
that assistance arrives to Haiti and is used effectively and effi-
By the way, where would we be today without the United Na-
tions? Where would the Haitian people be without the United Na-
tions and MINUSTAH working on the ground, for those who con-
sistently castigate the United Nations?
We have a moral obligation to help Haiti, a fragile democracy
that has suffered a terrible disaster, and we should send more as-
I thought it was interesting that the Vice President, Mr. Cheney,
went to Georgia to announce that assistance. I would recommend
that the Vice President find the time to get on a plane and fly to
Haiti and make a similar announcement. With that, I yield back
my time, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for this opportunity, and
welcome my colleagues.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you, Mr. Delahunt.
Mr. Sires for a short opening statement.
Mr. SIRES. Thank you very much. Welcome. I am also here to
show my support and make sure that we do everything we can. I
have happened to have taken a trip, during the last hurricane in
the Dominican Republic, and visited Jimani, which is right on the
border of Haiti, and the need there is just beyond. I still do not
think they have an accurate count of what happened, with the
floods and everything else in that area.
So I think that we should do whatever we can do to help these
people. I think it is our duty, a close neighbor of ours. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Sires follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE ALBIO SIRES, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY
Thank you Mr. Chairman for holding today's hearing.
As we discuss ways to best help Haiti today, I think it is important to keep in
mind the hard work currently being done by Haitian officials and U-S aid organiza-
tions, the non-governmental communities, and concerned citizens in response to the
Unfortunately, the problems faced by Haiti are not limited to the hurricane sea-
son. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and even before the
storms, Haiti was experiencing a food crisis.
I am pleased to join the subcommittee today to not only shed light on the pressing
needs of Haiti, but also the need for foreign assistance reform, as this subcommittee
discussed last week. Through considerable reform and increased financial support
for Haiti and the Western Hemisphere in general, we can provide more development
options, better coordination and substantial results.
I am pleased to be joined with some of my colleagues today that have recently
visited Haiti, and I am eager to hear their firsthand accounts.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you, Mr. Sires.
It is now my pleasure to welcome our colleagues on the first
panel who are here. I want to acknowledge that the Haitian Am-
bassador, Raymond Joseph, is also here. I want to welcome him as
well. I have worked closely with him on a number of things involv-
We will call on our colleagues and on our witnesses in the order
of seniority, and it makes me very frightened that Ms. Waters is
going to go first because she has the most seniority. But it makes
me very frightened, when I have more seniority than anybody on
the panel. I must be doing something wrong or right. I do not know
what it is, but it is a little bit frightening.
So I welcome all of my colleagues. Many of you have been to
Haiti many times, some of you have just come back, and many of
you have been leaders in this Congress in terms of calling attention
to Haiti. I know that Congresswoman Waters has a letter circu-
lating, which I was proud to sign, calling for massive aid to Haiti,
so we will start with my friend, Congresswoman Maxine Waters of
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE MAXINE WATERS, A REP-
RESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALI-
Ms. WATERS. Thank you very much. I would like certainly to
begin by thanking my colleague and friend, Eliot Engel, the chair-
man of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, for inviting
me and my colleagues to testify at this hearing on "The Hurricanes
in Haiti: Disaster and Recovery."
I am truly honored to be here, and this is so important, and I
am very appreciative. I, of course, have traveled to Haiti many,
many times, and I have seen the poverty and the pride of the Hai-
tian people with my own eyes. Haiti is the poorest country in the
Western Hemisphere and has suffered through several natural dis-
In September 2004, Hurricane Jeanne pounded Haiti with tor-
rential rain. The storm caused extensive flooding, destroyed at
least 5,000 homes, and killed more than 1,000 people, but no past
storms or other experiences can compare to the storms that hit
Haiti over the last month. Haiti has been struck by four hurricanes
and tropical storms in rapid succession: Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and
Severe flooding, landslides, wind, and sea surge damage has af-
fected the entire country. The Government of Haiti estimated that
600 people have been killed and an additional 850,000 have been
affected by the storms. According to the United States Agency for
International Development (USAID), more than 10,000 houses
have been destroyed, and more than 35,000 houses have been dam-
aged. There are more than 150,000 internally displaced persons in
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), up to 800,000 people, almost 10
percent of the population of Haiti, are in dire need of humanitarian
assistance. OCHA also reported that the entire harvest for the cur-
rent agricultural season has been severely damaged or destroyed.
Many roads and bridges have also been damaged or destroyed.
Almost all agricultural land in the country has been flooded.
There is a desperate need for food, clean water, and health serv-
ices. Immediate international assistance is critical to save lives and
rebuild homes and infrastructure. OCHA issued an appeal for $108
million to provide humanitarian and early recovery assistance to
survivors over the next 6 months.
According to Hedi Annabi, the United Nations' special envoy to
Haiti, the scale of the disaster has overwhelmed both the United
Nations mission and the Haitian Government. He called on the
international donor community to take extraordinary measures to
address the situation. Annabi reported that the damage in the agri-
cultural sector alone is estimated at more than $200 million. He
also said, "The people have lost everything in the floods and the
cleaning and the reconstruction work will be enormous and very
The Embassy of Haiti has provided my office a detailed list of
needs. The list is varied and includes portable bridges, patrol boats,
life jackets, rehabilitation of major ports, water pumps, water
pipes, and sewage cleanup supplies.
The Haitian Government is also seeking a total of 2,265 agricul-
tural tool kits. The kits are to be distributed throughout the coun-
try in order to begin the process of restoring the agricultural sector.
Each kit would include shovels, rakes, soil tillers, wheelbarrows,
flashlights, batteries, boots, raincoats, and other items.
These items may not seem expensive to us in the United States,
but to supply such basic items to farmers throughout the country
is well beyond the current capacity of the Haitian Government. Yet
without these simple tools, it is unlikely that the people of Haiti
will be able to grow their own food long after the floodwaters re-
On September 11th, I sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy
Pelosi requesting an emergency appropriation of $300 million for
disaster assistance to Haiti, and 67 Members of Congress signed
In a recent conversation with Mr. Delahunt-who, too, has spent
a lot of time on this Haitian issue, not just this disaster but over
the years, looking at and dealing with the political problems of vis-
iting and dealing with the false imprisonment of the Prime Min-
ister, on and on and on-had a conversation with me about the
money that had been requested for Georgia and that the adminis-
tration recently requested $1 billion in development assistance for
A mere fraction of that amount would help thousands of hungry
and displaced Haitians survive and begin to rebuild their commu-
nities. Haiti's needs are at least as great as Georgia's, and Haiti
is an impoverished island nation just south of American shores.
So I would urge the members of the subcommittee to support my
request for $300 million in disaster assistance to Haiti.
I deeply appreciate the opportunity to testify at this hearing, and
I commend the members of the Subcommittee on the Western
Hemisphere for their interest and all that they are doing to deal
with the needs of Haitian people.
Let me just close, Mr. Chairman, by saying, I, in one of my visits
to Haiti, I was there at the celebration of the bicentennial where
I took a helicopter up to Jimani that is now underwater and may
be destroyed. That is the site where Toussaint Louverture really
fought off the French, this proud, little nation who rebelled, the
first in the world against slavery.
These are proud, hard-working people. We have people who get
up in Haiti every day pushing wheelbarrows and lifting bricks and
moving dirt who are earning $1, $1.50, maybe $2 a day, but they
have the will to survive, and I so much honor their tenacity and
their will to survive and their willingness to work hard, and I
would hope that we could do something.
This appropriation is desperately needed, but if we did no more
than target the $1 billion, and Mr. Delahunt may be aware, $476
million of that is scheduled to be expedited right away. If we could
even access $100 million of that, that would be very helpful in mov-
ing this appropriation along, with more work to be done for the
other 200 or whatever, you know, authorization you guys would
come up with.
But the whole idea is we cannot wait. We have to get this done,
and we have to do it soon. Thank you so very much for having me
[The prepared statement of Ms. Waters follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE MAXINE WATERS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
I would like to begin by thanking my colleague, Eliot Engel, the Chairman of the
Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, for inviting me to testify at this hearing
on "The Hurricanes in Haiti: Disaster and Recovery." I am honored to be here.
I have traveled to Haiti many times, and I have seen the poverty and the pride
of the Haitian people with my own eyes. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western
Hemisphere, and it has suffered through several natural disasters. In September of
2004, Hurricane Jeanne pounded Haiti with torrential rain. The storm caused ex-
tensive flooding, destroyed at least 5,000 homes, and killed more than 1,000 people.
But no past storms or other experiences can compare to the storms that hit Haiti
over the last month. Haiti has been struck by four hurricanes and tropical storms
in rapid succession: Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike. Severe flooding, landslides, wind
and sea surge damage has affected the entire country. The government of Haiti esti-
mated that 600 people have been killed and an additional 850,000 people have been
affected by the storms. According to the United States Agency for International De-
velopment (USAID), more than 10,000 houses have been destroyed and more than
35,000 houses have been damaged. There are more than 150,000 internally dis-
placed persons in Haiti.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Af-
fairs (OCHA), up to 800,000 people-almost 10 percent of the population of Haiti-
are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. OCHA also reported that the entire
harvest for the current agricultural season has been severely damaged or destroyed.
Many roads and bridges also have been damaged or destroyed. Almost all agricul-
tural land in the country has been flooded. There is a desperate need for food, clean
water, and health services. Immediate international assistance is critical to save
lives and rebuild homes and infrastructure. OCHA issued an appeal for $108 million
to provide humanitarian and early recovery assistance to survivors over the next six
According to Hedi Annabi, the United Nations' special envoy to Haiti, the scale
of the disaster has overwhelmed both the United Nations mission and the Haitian
government. He called on the international donor community to take extraordinary
measures to address the situation. Annabi reported that the damage in the agricul-
tural sector alone is estimated at more than $200 million. He also said, "The people
have lost everything in the floods and the cleaning and the reconstruction work will
be enormous and very costly."
The Embassy of Haiti has provided my office a detailed list of needs. The list is
varied and includes portable bridges, patrol boats, life jackets, rehabilitation of
major ports, water pumps, water pipes, and sewage cleanup supplies.
The Haitian government is also seeking a total of 2,265 agricultural tool kits. The
kits are to be distributed throughout the country in order to begin the process of
restoring the agricultural sector. Each kit would include 8 shovels, 4 rakes, 3 soil
tillers, 4 wheelbarrows, 6 flashlights, 22 batteries, 20 pairs of boots, 20 raincoats,
and a few other items. These items may not seem expensive to us in the United
States, but to supply such basic items to farmers throughout the country is well be-
yond the current capacity of the Haitian government. Yet without these simple
tools, it is unlikely the people of Haiti will be able to grow their own food long after
the flood waters recede.
On September 11th, I sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi requesting an
emergency appropriation of $300 million for disaster assistance for Haiti, and 67
Members of Congress signed my letter.
The Administration recently requested one billion in development assistance for
Georgia. A mere fraction of that amount would help thousands of hungry and dis-
placed Haitians survive and begin to rebuild their communities. Haiti's needs are
at least as great as Georgia's, and Haiti is an impoverished island nation just south
of American shores. I urge the members of this subcommittee to support my request
for $300 million in disaster assistance for Haiti.
I deeply appreciate the opportunity to testify at this hearing, and I commend the
members of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere for their interest in the
needs of the Haitian people.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you, Congresswoman Waters. As I mentioned
before, you have certainly been a leader in the fight to get aid to
Haiti, and I was proud to sign your letter.
I might also add that both you and Ms. Lee traveled with me to
Haiti. I was only chairman-elect, I guess. We had won the election,
but we had not yet taken over, and it was the very first trip that
I made as chairman, or prospective chairman, of this subcommittee
to Haiti, and both of you were invaluable on that trip, so thank you
very, very much.
Congressman Hastings of Florida, who also, for many years he
has been a leader in all things Haitian, and, of course, his district
in South Florida, I know because, as he knows, my mom and dad
lived in his district for many years. He has many, many people
from Haiti in the district, and so I welcome you, Congressman
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE ALCEE L. HASTINGS, A REP-
RESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF FLORIDA
Mr. HASTINGS. Thank you very much, Chairman Engel, and my
compliments to you and your colleagues, Mr. Delahunt and Mr.
Sires, and other members of the Western Hemisphere Sub-
committee for holding this extremely important hearing today. I
am honored to be here.
Mr. Chairman, I would also like to just mention some of the peo-
ple who are not here, but I am sure that the extraordinary work
that they have done is also noticed by the world community as
well-Chairman Rangel, Chairman Conyers, Congressman Meeks,
who is different than my colleague, Meek, from New York-people
that are no longer here: Cynthia McKinney, for example, did an
awful lot of work in this area; former Senator Bob Graham, and
Senator Nelson on the other side and the other body has done an
In my two extraordinary manifestations of gratitude, I do not
wish to overlook the United States State Department, USAID,
SOUTHCOM, and the significant number of nonprofit organiza-
tions, and, more recently, the Archdiocese in Miami, weighing in
very heavily for the matter that I wish to highlight.
I also kind of see this as a hemispheric problem, and while we
talk about Haiti, I also am mindful that there are other countries
in the Caribbean Basin who suffer living in "Hurricane Alley," and
we should not leave them unnoticed as well.
Mr. Chairman, I would ask that my full statement be inserted
into the record.
Mr. ENGEL. Without objection, so ordered.
Mr. HASTINGS. I would also, Mr. Chairman, like to that a point
of personal privilege. As you well know, and others, I was the
President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe. Mr. Delahunt mentioned
Georgia. I had an awful lot of involvement, including the lead mon-
itoring of their Presidential elections.
Very occasionally, it does unnoted in this body that there are
international bodies who have interests, and, today, there are 62
members of the OSCE who are here in preparation for observing
the United States elections in November. One of those members is
from the Netherlands, and she has a continuing interest, and I
would like to introduce to all of us, in the hopes that we will hear
more from her since the Antilles are a sister country to the Nether-
lands and close to Haiti's interests, but I would like for you to meet
a member of the Parliament of the Netherlands, Kathleen Ferrier,
who is here with us as well.
Mr. ENGEL. Let me just say, we, of course, welcome our guests,
and thank you for gracing us with your presence.
Mr. HASTINGS. Thank you. It would take decades, Mr. Chairman,
for a wealthier, more stable nation to recover from challenges simi-
lar to those facing Haiti. However, Haiti also lacks, and Ms. Waters
points out, the physical and economic infrastructure necessary to
protect its citizens from natural disasters. Any development efforts
are further stunted by the constant crises and turmoil affecting the
I believe that there should be a special task force, for example,
you mentioned, Mr. Chairman, on reforestation. Some of the best
experts in the world are in the United States of America. They
need to be sent there as a team, working in coordination with oth-
ers on that significant problem.
While Haiti's humanitarian crisis becomes increasingly dire, and
the nation's struggle for economic stability and sustainable devel-
opment is further delayed, it is now more imperative than ever
that the United States grant Haitian immigrants temporary pro-
tected status. TPS, granted for a designated period of time and
subject to renewal, would halt deportation and grant work permits
to most of the estimated 20,000 Haitians believed to be currently
residing in the United States illegally so that they can legally con-
tribute to Haiti's economic recovery.
I am skipping a lot of my testimony, Mr. Chairman, to point to
President Preval, who explained to President Bush, in his request,
that Haiti has long been victim to persistent poverty, political tur-
moil, and environmental destruction. TPS is the least-expensive,
most-immediate form of humanitarian assistance we can provide
Haiti. It allows the Haitian Government to invest all of its limited
resources in rebuilding and redevelopment.
I also, Mr. Chairman, call on the Immigrations and Customs De-
partment (ICE) to stop deporting people to this country for this pe-
riod of time. Though I am encouraged by the United States' willing-
ness to provide humanitarian aid to Haiti, emergency assistance
will only go so far. Haiti needs a comprehensive, sustainable solu-
tion to put it on a path of long-term stability, and I believe that
TPS is a necessary part of that solution. We have done TPS, Mr.
Chairman, for Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, and even Soma-
lia. There is absolutely no excuse for us not to grant Temporary
Protective Status to Haitians.
I commend you for your commitment to the Haitian people, you
and your colleagues, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for bringing at-
tention to this continuously struggling nation. Thank you, sir.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hastings follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE ALCEE L. HASTINGS, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF FLORIDA
Thank you, Chairman Engel and Representative Burton for holding this ex-
tremely important hearing today. I am honored to be here.
As you well know, in less than a month's time, Haiti has been ravaged by not
one, but four natural disasters. Roads and bridges have been wiped out, leaving
many communities isolated and only accessible by air. Fields and crops have been
flooded, obliterating the nation's meager domestic food supply. Over 850,000 individ-
uals have been affected with 423 people reported dead, over 150,000 people inter-
nally displaced, and nearly 40,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed.
It would take decades for a wealthier, more stable nation to recover from chal-
lenges similar to those facing Haiti. However, Haiti also lacks the physical and eco-
nomic infrastructure necessary to protect its citizens from natural disasters. Any de-
velopment efforts are further stunted by the constant crisis and turmoil affecting
the nation. The tragedies of the last few weeks have shown us that by our refusal
to take substantive action, we not only leave the Haitian government vulnerable to
greater political instability but we also increase the likelihood of human and phys-
ical loss from the probable event of future natural disasters.
I have long been an advocate for issues affecting Haitians, both in Haiti and in
our own country. This past April, I offered an amendment to the Jubilee Act that
unanimously passed the House of Representatives. My amendment called for the
immediate cancellation of Haiti's international debt. I am also the author of H.R.
522, the Haitian Protection Act, a bill currently under consideration by the Judici-
ary Committee. This bill would direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to grant
Haitian immigrants currently in the United States Temporary Protected Status
(TPS). Though I believe passage of this legislation is imperative to Haiti's short and
long-term stability, it must also be stressed that TPS is a designation the Adminis-
tration can grant on its own prerogative without the direction of Congress.
As Haiti's humanitarian crisis becomes increasingly dire and the nation's struggle
for economic stability and sustainable development is further delayed, it is now
more imperative than ever that the United States grant Haitian immigrants TPS.
TPS is the least expensive, most immediate form of humanitarian assistance we can
provide Haiti. It also allows the Haitian government to invest all of its limited re-
sources in rebuilding and redevelopment.
Under Section 244(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1990, TPS may
be granted when any of the following conditions are met: there is ongoing armed
conflict posing a serious threat to personal safety; it is requested by a foreign state
that temporarily cannot handle the return of nationals due to environmental dis-
aster; or when extraordinary and temporary conditions in a foreign state exist which
prevent aliens from returning. Now, more than ever, Haiti meets all of these condi-
As Haiti's President Ren6 Preval explained in his February 2008 letter to Presi-
dent Bush formally requesting TPS, Haiti has long been victim to persistent pov-
erty, political turmoil, and environmental destruction. The deportation of Haitian
nationals in the United States only increases the burden on this small nation's al-
ready stressed economic and political system. TPS, granted for a designated period
of time and subject to renewal, would halt deportations and grant work permits to
most of the estimated 20,000 Haitians believed to be currently residing in the
United States illegally so that they can legally contribute to Haiti's economic recov-
It is important to note that TPS would not, as some may suggest, lead to a mass
influx of Haitian migrants. TPS only applies to individuals who arrive in the United
States before the designated date. Perhaps most significantly, there was no major
increase in immigration levels after the U.S. granted approximately 50,000 Haitians
Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) in 1997 in anticipation of the passage of the
Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 1998.
The United States has rightfully acknowledged and supported the efforts of other
nations to return to a sense of normalcy by granting and extending their TPS. At
the same time and under equally dire conditions, Haitian migrants have not re-
ceived similar treatment.
Just 600 miles from our shores, political and economic instability in Haiti impacts
our own economy and immigration levels, thereby making it our responsibility to
work to ensure Haiti's long-term stability. Haitians, both in Haiti and in our own
country, have long suffered through natural destruction, persistent poverty, repres-
sive regimes, and the inequitable policies of the Untied States. It is now our moral
obligation to help Haitians sustain and rebuild their country by granting Haitian
nationals already residing in the United States TPS.
While I am encouraged by the United States' willingness to provide humanitarian
aid to Haiti, emergency assistance will only go so far. Haiti needs a comprehensive,
sustainable solution to put it on a path of long-term stability, and I believe that TPS
is a necessary part of that solution. Otherwise, we will be back here again, year
after year, trying to pull Haiti out of another crisis.
I commend you for your commitment to the Haitian people and thank you for
bringing attention to this continuously struggling nation. I look forward to working
with you on this very important matter.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you, Congressman Hastings, who, for many
years, served on the Foreign Affairs Committee until he moved on
to bigger and better things, making all of the rules for us. Thank
you very, very much.
I want to acknowledge we have been joined by our colleague, a
very valued member of the subcommittee, Congressman Donald
Payne of New Jersey, and it is now my pleasure to call on Con-
gresswoman Barbara Lee. Congresswoman Lee also, as I men-
tioned before, traveled with us to Haiti on the very, very first trip,
since we knew we were going to be in the majority and the chair.
She has a very important bill called "Next Steps for Haiti," and I
am very interested in hearing about it. Congresswoman Lee?
STATEMENT OF. THE HONORABLE BARBARA LEE, A REP-
RESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALI-
Ms. LEE. Thank you very much, and thank you, Chairman Engel,
for your leadership, and I thank the subcommittee for this hearing
and for all of your leadership on issues relating to the Caribbean.
Yes, Chairman Engel, I was very proud to be with you on your first
visit as upcoming chair to Haiti because you made the Caribbean
a priority and have sought to see some parity in our foreign policy
as it relates to the Caribbean.
So I just want to thank you for continuing to lead on this issue,
and I also want to thank all of my colleagues for testifying this
morning and for their leadership and for their hard work over so
many years, oftentimes being the lone voices in the wilderness, as
it relates to what we need to do with regard to supporting the Hai-
Let me just say, first, as a member of the Foreign Affairs Com-
mittee and a former member of your subcommittee, Mr. Chairman,
like all on this panel, I visited Haiti many, many times since, real-
ly, the 1970s, and, you know, oftentimes we think we are making
some progress, in terms of what our country is doing to support
that country, its people, and then we see natural disasters and
other disasters take place, which set us back.
So let me just offer a few thoughts on the crisis in Haiti caused
by the recent hurricanes and draw some comparisons to the situa-
tion in Grenada after Hurricane Ivan in 2000, and let me just offer
some potential long-term solutions, with regard to this bill, at least,
one solution to address some of the systemic problems in Haiti.
The situation in Haiti is dire, as all of our colleagues are reit-
erating, and, like much of the Caribbean and the United States,
the recent hurricanes have really devastated Haiti. The storms
caused massive flooding, mudslides, damaged infrastructure, de-
stroyed bridges, and led to hundreds of deaths. Most of the port
city of Gonaives, the second-largest city after Port-au-Prince, re-
mains underwater. Although the destruction of Gonaives is prob-
ably the most visible, the damage in Haiti extends far inland, into
the mountainous and rural areas throughout the Central Plateau.
As the water began to subside, the people of Haiti are now strug-
gling with the spread of both airborne and waterborne diseases.
Cases of malnutrition in children are rising, as reports indicate
that there is not enough food to feed the hungry, and access to
clean water is scarce. Clearly, the people of Haiti are in need of
The Government of Haiti has specifically asked for $400 million
in aid to help in the wake of the disaster, and, in addition, Presi-
dent Preval has asked for, at least, 25 helicopters with pilots to
help the country get food to storm victims in remote areas, and,
again, President Preval has, as have Congressman Hastings and
others on the panel, called for the United States to -grant Tem-
porary Protective Status for Haitians in the United States.
By helping Haiti with these requests, we can stand right now in
solidarity with its people during this difficult time, and, yes, I am
very pleased that we have already offered about $29 million in hu-
manitarian assistance to Haiti, but much more is needed.
I have to thank Congresswoman Waters for taking the lead in
asking for, at least, $300 million to assist the people of Haiti to re-
build, but also I agree with Mr. Delahunt and Ms. Waters that, you
know, there is no way that we should not ask for more money right
now, given what we just did, in terms of Georgia. This huge gap
and disparity has got to be closed, and I think we have a prime
opportunity to do that right now. So whatever it takes, Congress-
woman Waters and Mr. Chairman, we need to do that, and we
need to do that immediately before we leave this week.
So, as a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign
Operations, I would like to work with you to try to figure out a
strategy that, as we move this Georgia bill forward, we can figure
out how to make sure that Haiti is provided the resources that it
needs, in addition to the $30 million that we are providing.
Also, let me just say, I am going to be introducing a resolution
expressing support for Caribbean countries devastated by the hur-
ricanes and calling for emergency humanitarian assistance, just as
we did after Hurricane Ivan. I look forward to working with the
committee on this.
As we move to act in Haiti, again, we have to remember what
happened, and what we did after Ivan in 2004. Back then, there
was a disconnect between the rest of the Caribbean countries and
the United States. However, following the devastation in Grenada,
we brought together, in a bipartisan way, a way to build stronger
ties to the Caribbean region and to provide disaster-relief efforts.
We also delivered $100 million in disaster assistance to the Car-
ibbean, but, with that $100 million-I believe Grenada received
probably close to $50 million, but we required that money to be
used in 1 year.
I led a codel to Grenada after that, and the Grenadians did a
phenomenal job in that year in using that money and rebuilding
the country, but I do not believe, and I hope we do not put any re-
straints on the resources that we will be providing to Haiti because
I know that a year is not enough time for the emergency assistance
to be utilized in an effective manner.
Also, you mentioned the bill, which, I think, most members of the
panel are co-sponsors of, in terms of "Next Steps for Haiti," and let
me just mention, really, the purpose of this legislation-hopefully,
next year, it will move-is to make sure that Haitian-Americans
and others provide technical assistance to help Haiti improve in
areas vital to its growth and development, which may include edu-
cation, energy, environment, healthcare, infrastructure, security,
transportation, and disaster-preparedness assistance. We have got
to really expedite and rev up our efforts in providing help for dis-
So this is H.R. 6255, the "Next Steps for Haiti Act."
Also, let me just mention, when we talk about long-term solu-
tions, and we have worked, on this subcommittee, for many years
to try to figure out how to enhance educational exchanges between
students in the Caribbean, especially in Haiti, and the United
States. So, hopefully, we will be able to move out of the Senate this
year the Shirley Chisholm U.S.-Caribbean Education Exchange
So, finally, let me just say, in closing, we need a comprehensive
strategy to assist the Caribbean, especially Haiti, now to recover
from these natural disasters on an immediate, emergency basis,
but we also need to use these windows of opportunity to help with
the long-term sustainable solutions, and so all of the Members of
this panel and your subcommittee, Mr. Chairman, have some ideas,
I think, that need to move forward as quickly as possible.
In my district, and I say this all of the time, we have a slogan
where we say, "Let Haiti live." Now we are saying, "Let Haiti sur-
vive first, and let Haiti live."
Thank you again. This is part of that effort, Mr. Chairman, and
I appreciate the chance to be with you today.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Lee follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE BARBARA LEE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Thank you Chairman Engel and Ranking Member Burton for your leadership on
issues vital to the needs of the Caribbean people. I also want to thank Chairman
Berman, for allowing me to testify.
I want to commend all of my colleagues who have joined me to testify today. And
I want to thank the staff, particularly Jason Steinbaum for organizing this hearing.
As a member of the Foreign Affairs committee and a former member of the West-
ern Hemisphere Subcommittee, I appreciate the opportunity to be here with you.
I will briefly offer my thoughts on the crisis in Haiti caused by the recent hurri-
canes and draw some comparisons to the situation in Grenada after hurricane Ivan
in 2004. I also want to offer some potential long term solutions to address some of
the systemic problems in Haiti.
As my colleagues have mentioned, the situation in Haiti is dire. Like much of the
Caribbean and the United States, the recent hurricanes have devastated Haiti.
The storms caused massive flooding, mud slides, damaged infrastructure, de-
stroyed bridges, and led to hundreds of deaths.
Most of the port city of Gonaives, the second largest city after Port-au-Prince, re-
mains under water. Although the destruction of Gonaives is probably the most visi-
ble, the damage in Haiti extends far inland to the mountainous and rural areas
throughout the Central Plateau.
As the water begins to subside, the people of Haiti are now struggling with the
spread of both air and water-borne diseases. Cases of malnutrition in children are
rising as reports indicate that there is not enough food to feed the hungry and ac-
cess to clean water is scarce.
Clearly, the people of Haiti are in need of emergency assistance.
The Government of Haiti has specifically asked for $400 million in aid to help in
the wake of this disaster. In addition, President Preval has asked for at least 25
helicopters with pilots to help the country get food to storm victims in remote areas.
President Preval has also called for the United States to grant Temporary Protec-
tive Status (TPS) to Haitians in the United States.
By helping Haiti with these requests, we can stand in solidarity with its people
during this difficult time.
I am pleased that we have already provided approximately $29 million in humani-
tarian assistance to Haiti, but much more is needed.
I join my colleague Maxine Waters in calling for at least $300 million to imme-
diately assist the people of Haiti to rebuild.
As a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Oper-
ations, I am working with my Chairwoman, Nita Lowey, to ensure that the United
States provides urgent humanitarian assistance to Haiti.
I will also be introducing a resolution expressing support for Caribbean countries
devastated by the Hurricanes and calling for increased emergency humanitarian as-
sistance to help them recover. I look forward to working with the Committee on this
As we move to act in Haiti, I am reminded of our efforts to assist Grenada to re-
build in the wake of Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
Back then, there was a disconnect between the rest of the Caribbean countries
and the United States. However, following the devastation in Grenada, we worked
together in a bipartisan way to build stronger ties with the Caribbean region to pro-
vide disaster relief.
We coordinated meetings with CARICOM diplomats about disaster relief and re-
covery efforts in the aftermath of the hurricane season.
We worked with USAID and the State Department congressional liaisons to find
out what support was being offered and what resources were needed to assist the
We unanimously passed in the House a bi-partisan resolution-H. Con. Res. 496,
calling for increased emergency assistance to the Caribbean.
As a result of these efforts, we delivered $100 million in disaster assistance to the
Afterwards, I helped lead a Committee CODEL to Grenada to assess the damages
on the ground and to identify long-term policy solutions to the problems it faced.
As we work to provide assistance to Haiti, I am pleased that the Committee has
taken many of these same actions. While we deliver urgent support to its people,
we must also identify long term solutions to Haiti's problems.
In May of this year, Congresswoman Kilpatrick and I led a congressional delega-
tion to Haiti to examine some of these problems, particularly the impact of soaring
At that time, Haiti was still.recovering from last year's hurricanes and we feared
what might happen if another storm hit Haiti before the rebuilding process was
It was clear to us, that Haiti's food shortages, severe deforestation, poor sanita-
tion, lack of family planning and healthcare services, high unemployment, and un-
derdeveloped agriculture could not be solved by emergency assistance alone.
That is why, working with Chairman Engel, I introduced H.R. 6255 the Next
Steps for Haiti Act of 2008. This bill will provide technical expertise and build
human capacity to help Haiti address its own problems.
Many Haitian Americans living in the U.S. have technical expertise in areas such
as agriculture, education, health care, and infrastructure development, and want to
return to Haiti to assist their people. My bill creates a mechanism to transfer this
knowledge in order to meet the needs and goals of Haiti.
Beyond that, we need to ensure that we find innovative ways to build human ca-
pacity through education exchange programs, like those I have proposed in H.R.
176, the Shirley Chisholm U.S.-Caribbean Educational Exchange Bill.
Mr. Chairman, I appreciate your help and the Committee's efforts in passing this
bill through the House last year. It is currently awaiting action on the Senate Floor
and I hope we can pass it before we adjourn.
In closing, I believe that we need a comprehensive strategy to assist the Carib-
bean to recover from these natural disasters.
I also believe that we have a responsibility to examine our own role in the crises
that Haiti currently faces. Specifically, I believe we should examine the February
2004 Coup and ouster of President Aristide. I hope that the committee will consider
my bill H.R. 351, The Truth Act.
Thank you again, Mr. Chairman. I look forward to answering any questions.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you very much, Congresswoman Lee. We,
again, appreciate your hard work.
Our next colleague is Congressman Kendrick Meek of Florida.
Congressman Meek called me from Haiti, just last week, where he
was with Congresswoman Clarke and Congresswoman Edwards,
and has really been the driving force of saying that, in the week
before we leave, something has to be done, and one of the major
reasons I called this hearing was because of my conversations with
Let me also say that I believe that he has the largest contingent
of Haitians of any district in the United States living in his dis-
trict. In my district, in Spring Valley, New York, we have a very
large Haitian-American community, but I know that Mr. Meek's
district, that is probably, I believe, the largest in the country. So,
Congressman Meek of Florida.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE KENDRICK B. MEEK, A REP-
RESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF FLORIDA
Mr. MEEK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank you and
this committee for calling this meeting, this hearing, in the last
week of our session. With so many issues that are facing our own
country, Haiti is definitely a part of our history and has assisted
us in our independence.
Also, to my colleagues that sit on this panel, many of whom have
put in a lot of sweat equity in making sure that we do the best for
the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, I want to echo
some of the sentiments of my colleagues that have spoken about
the urgency of dealing with Haiti.
This morning, I had a phone meeting with Ambassador
Sanderson, the U.S. Ambassador that is there, and I wrote down:
"The situation is very dramatic on the ground right now." This is
almost 2 to 3 weeks after the storm.
The emergency trip that took place last week with Congress-
woman Clarke of New York and also Congresswoman Edwards of
Maryland was one that was planned within hours because of the
reports we were getting out of Haiti. If it was not, Mr. Chairman,
for the fast response of Admiral Stavrides and the Southern Com-
mand, the situation could be a lot worse in Haiti.
The Kearsarge, which was able to divert from another mission
and respond within 24 hours after the last storm went through
Haiti, made it possible to save lives. I know that Rear Admiral
Kernan is here, a representative of the Southern Command, and
we had an opportunity to visit with him and the crew of that ship.
They should be commended for their work that they are still under-
going at this time.
Mr. Chairman and committee members, right now, the situation
in Haiti is pretty bad, but we do know that the international com-
munity is there. We had a great meeting, just the other day, with
all of the members here on this panel, including yourself, Mr.
Chairman, and others, and Mr. Delahunt from your committee,
Chairman Delahunt. We had, of course, Ambassador Joseph, who
is here with us today, the Ambassador of Haiti, and also the Am-
bassador to the United States from Brazil, France, Canada, and
also the EU. All of us hold a vested interest in the forward
progress in Haiti.
If we do not take advantage of the international community
being there, a standing Government in Haiti, which, hopefully, the
parliamentary elections will take place to get a full Senate place
and do it right this time, we may find ourselves having a security
situation in Haiti.
The 82nd Airborne has been deployed into Haiti twice in recent
years. It has cost U.S. taxpayers millions of dollars.
The U.S. Coast Guard that has put a blanket around Haiti to
make sure that we do not have boats or smugglers that are coming
into South Florida has spent quite a bit of money and resources
dealing with trying to stop that from happening, when we have a
flow of drugs that is coming out of Haiti and other Caribbean na-
tions that are there that we could be focusing on.
Mr. Chairman I think the work of this committee is very, very
important. This hearing, for the record, is very, very important, but
the emergency appropriation, as has already been stated, is very
important to the forward progress.
In April, we know that there was a food uprising in Haiti that
was the only one in the Western Hemisphere because of the price
of food. I traveled to Haiti and had an opportunity to see food on
the streets, but Haitians could not afford it.
Right now, the food situation is basically the United States is
providing a lot of the food that is there and the international com-
munity, but now we are going to have a situation, in 3 to 4 weeks,
where there will not be any food because the breadbasket of Haiti
was wiped out around the Gonaives area, and we are going to have
a desperate situation there, and that is the reason why the appro-
priation is very, very important.
The last point I want to share with you: Congressman Hastings
talked about the Temporary Protective Status for Haitians. Haiti
over qualifies, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, for
Temporary Protective Status. I have to drop my head sometimes,
when I am talking with Prime Minister Preval and also when I
have to face my constituents in South Florida, about Temporary
There is really no reason why. It is hard to even put it in words,
why Haiti has not been granted Temporary Protective Status. Not
only have several members of this panel written the President-we
are probably into the hundreds of letters that have been written-
of why Haiti should be granted Temporary Protective Status.
There was a phone conversation last week, late last week, be-
cause ICE was preparing to return Haitians to Haiti, and, from the
religious community to the advocacy community and Members of
Congress, it was really a sad, sad occasion because we, literally,
hands and knees, had to beg not to put this burden on the Haitian
Government; even though it was a few, it was just the principle of
The Temporary Protective Status issue needs to be addressed,
should be addressed. It is temporary. It does not give Haitians per-
manent status here in the United States, but it does show that we
recognize what the President has asked for, President Preval, who
is at the U.N. right now, who will be meeting with President Clin-
ton and the Global Initiative, along with former Prime Minister
Tony Blair, to talk about the assistance situation that is needed in
Also, Mr. Chairman, I think it is important that your committee
moves to set up a special office, as we did after the tsunami that
hit, set up a special office to coordinate philanthropic efforts that
may be undertaken here in the United States so that Americans
will be able to share in the responsibility that we have to make
sure that Haiti is able to stand on its own two feet.
So thank you so very much, Mr. Chairman, and I look forward
to any questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Meek follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE KENDRICK B. MEEK, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF FLORIDA
Thank you, Mr. Chairman for calling this important hearing to so that we may
put a spotlight on the devastation in Haiti from hurricanes Fay, Gustav, Hanna and
Ike and the ongoing humanitarian aid efforts.
As many of you know, I represent the largest Haitian community outside of Haiti.
Haiti sits only 600 miles from our shores and the security, political, and economic
activities in Haiti not only affect my district in particular, but also our entire coun-
try. As one can imagine, when four hurricanes hit Haiti, the poorest country in the
Western Hemisphere, within a 22 day period, I felt that on behalf of Congress, I
had to act.
On September 12th & 13th, I led a Congressional Delegation trip to the Republic
of Haiti and was joined by two of my colleagues, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-
NY) and Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD). Our goals for this trip were to
detail the U.S. relief efforts, to talk to President Preval and Prime Minister Michele
Pierre-Louis about a comprehensive needs assessment that we could share with
other interested legislators and our local officials, and to bring back a sense of hope
for the Haitian American community that progress is being made.
As we toured the hardest hit areas, the devastation we witnessed that weekend
was unimaginable. In certain regions of Haiti the local infrastructure has been com-
pletely overwhelmed as floodwaters submerged the ports and airports, and virtual
lakes formed over the roads. As hard hit cities such as Gonaives became isolated,
Haitians were forced to live on their roofs for weeks because disaster relief became
Thankfully, Haiti is not alone. Before Hurricane Ike had even hit Haiti, the US
and International donor communities were preparing their relief efforts. In Haiti,
I witnessed, first hand, the bravery and dedication of our USAID and military work-
ers working side by side with members of the international community to provide
much needed relief. I was particularly proud to see the involvement of Southcom
through the relief efforts on the USS Kearsarge. The USS Kearsarge has provided
assistance on medical and engineering projects, as well as the continued logistical
support to remote areas of Haiti that were heavily damaged by the recent tropical
storms. This kind of support is invaluable due to the extreme difficulty in providing
these coordination efforts.
Upon returning from this trip, my priorities have been set on pressing for emer-
gency supplemental disaster relief funding for Haiti, to increase the pressure on the
Administration to provide Temporary Protective Status for Haitians, to mobilize
local U.S. government officials, and to work with the Haitian Diaspora to augment
assistance efforts already underway.
Last week, we held a meeting between Members of Congress and the Ambas-
sadors from major donor nations in Haiti to discuss the ongoing relief efforts and
to consider what additional resources may be provided going forward. At this meet-
ing the Ambassadors from Haiti, France, Brazil, the European Union and Canada
a representative from the Department of State met with Members to openly discuss
their various aid efforts and the challenges they have met. One positive result was
a general sense that aid efforts may need to be better coordinated. The United
States, as a leader in providing humanitarian aid, should improve the synergy be-
tween the various private and public disaster aid efforts as well as lead coordinating
efforts with our various international partners so that aid distribution is delivered
I have also joined with Rep. Hastings the others in the South Florida delegation
to ask for Temporary Protected Status for Haitians. This status is long overdue for
the thousands of taxpaying Haitian nationals who live every day with the threat
of deportation. As the most industrialized nation in the world, we have a moral obli-
gation to protect those who came to the U.S. seeking economic and political stability
at a time when Haitian life was very precarious. Through the ongoing economic
struggles and the extraordinary toll that recent natural disasters have inflicted on
the island, Haitian nationals more than qualify for TPS.
Lastly, I have joined with Chairwoman Waters to call for emergency appropria-
tions for Haiti. We must not forget that the hurricane season is not over yet. Much
of Haiti's small but burgeoning agricultural sector has been hit particularly hard by
the hurricanes and it was only six months ago that Haiti was mired in the middle
of a hunger crisis. It is essential that we provide the necessary funding to assist
in keeping the costs of living in Haiti stable.
As a close friend and ally of the United States since the Revolutionary War we
must continue to provide the necessary support to help get Haiti back on their feet.
While Haiti has struggled to pull themselves up from the depths of decades of eco-
nomic and political instability, they have incredibly strong and capable leadership.
Through MINUSTAH and President Preval's leadership, stability has been restored
to much of the country, most gang activity has been driven out of Port-au-Prince's
notorious slums, and the Haitian government has forged ahead with a comprehen-
sive plan for economic growth. Still, this year's hurricane season has threatened
much of this progress; we must not waver on our support for Haiti.
Again Mr. Chairman, I thank you for calling this hearing today and look forward
to the testimony of the witnesses on the importance of providing substantive aid to
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you, Mr. Meek.
I am going to ask Congressman Sires to take over the chair. I
have just been called to a vote in my other committee, and I will
be back. But before I do that, I want to introduce Congresswoman
Yvette Clarke, who, like me, comes from New York City. I think
I have the second-largest Haitian-American community, second
largest in New York. Congresswoman Clarke has the largest in
Brooklyn, New York, and so welcome, and I look forward to what
you have to say.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE YVETTE D. CLARKE, A REP-
RESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW
Ms. CLARKE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, to Ranking
Member Burton, in absentia, to all of the members of the com-
mittee, to my colleagues on the panel. It is not a mystery to any
of you here that I am of Jamaican descent and a child of the Carib-
bean region, and to see for myself what our sister nation, Haiti,
has had to endure, the long suffering of Haitians, is something that
is epic in proportion.
Let me pause a moment to just thank Chairman Thompson, who
commissioned my ability to get on this codel, as a member of the
Homeland Security Committee, and also Chairwoman Kilpatrick of
the Congressional Black Caucus, who was also a collaborator in
this effort, and say that I want to amplify everything that my col-
leagues have already stated.
What I witnessed, as part of this codel, is unbelievable. The dev-
astation of this nation cannot be put or captured by words. To fly,
by helicopter, over Gonaives and see rushing water rushing into
the village weeks after the storms have passed; to see the trails of
water falling down the sides of the mountains, still rushing into
communities, into neighborhoods; to see areas where mud has
stacked up two to four feet high and people trying to live their
daily lives as though this is something that is the status quo is a
reason for alarm.
STo fly over Artibonite, which is the breadbasket of Haiti and see
the entire crop covered by water with livestock dead, carcasses,
lying in the same water, and then to fly over further and see people
bathing and washing in the same water, we know that this is a hu-
So there is no mystery here, and the only mystery is how we re-
spond. I would say that the international community has stepped
up to the plate, but it really requires a much more aggressive ac-
tion. It requires sustained attention.
We live in episodes in the United States of America. Our atten-
tion span is very short, but, day by day, life is at stake in Haiti.
It is a fragile nation. It is a fragile nation where the people strug-
gle each and every day just to survive. The average living age for
a female in Haiti is 56 years old, and, for men, 53. We have a
young nation here, and this nation deserves our attention.
I want to join with Representative Maxine Waters in calling for
$300 million in emergency appropriations for Haiti. I think that
that is just the flash point of what is needed right now. We know
that sustainable development is ultimately the goal.
So we need to look at the Third Border Initiative and find out
whether it is substantive or just ceremonial. The Third Border Ini-
tiative was an initiative where we were establishing a real relation-
ship with the Caribbean region. This assistance would help Carib-
bean governments prepare for natural disasters through technical
improvements to the region's disaster early-warning and commu-
nication systems. That has yet to be put in place. This is unaccept-
On the issue of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), I am ampli-
fying the call. How could we not? Would we want that to be the
situation for us here, were we in Haiti's shoes? I doubt that. I
doubt that. We would be looking for the mercy of other nations and
not expecting them to compound the misery under which we are
trying to survive.
Then Homeland Security. You have already heard my colleagues
talk about desperation, the desperation of people.
So you have a choice: Do you stay in your nation, perhaps drown
by rushing water, perhaps contract some sort of an airborne or wa-
terborne disease and wither away while people stand down and not
assist you? Or do you take to the seas and take your chances, try
to get to another nation where life exists abundantly?
These are the choices that Haitian people have today, and we
have to wake up tomorrow morning and ask ourselves a question.
We have to ask ourselves whether we can stand down and see hu-
manity wither away, as though it were Atlantis, or whether we are
going to stand up, as a nation of goodwill, and extend our arms to
a nation within our hemisphere and be a part of the rebuilding of
What a wonderful thing it would be if, during our lifetime, that
we could truly say that the Congress of the United States extended
itself, its goodwill, to Haiti in triumph over extreme poverty and
despair in our hemisphere. I thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I look forward to your questions.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Clarke follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE YVETTE D. CLARKE, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
SITUATION ON THE GROUND
Before Tropical Storm Fay, Hurricane Gustav, Hurricane Hanna and Hurricane
Ike blew ashore, Haiti was experiencing incredibly difficult times. As the poorest
country in the Western Hemisphere, 80% of Haitians were living in poverty, with
more than half living in abject poverty. Haiti already had the lowest standard of
living on this side of the globe and hunger was widespread. Then the quick succes-
sion of four major storms over the span of three weeks turned an already bad situa-
According to USAID, 850,000 people in Haiti have been affected by these storms.
Thus far, USAID estimates that 423 people have been killed and 50 remain missing.
Over 150,000 people have been displaced and almost 50,000 homes were damaged
or destroyed. Of the 850,000 people affected by the storms, the World Health Orga-
nization estimates that 442,000 are women, 24,000 are pregnant women, and
306,000 are children. These are people who were vulnerable before the storms and
are now even more so.
I had the opportunity to travel to Haiti on September 12 following Hurricane Ike
with my colleagues Reps. Kendrick Meek and Donna Edwards to assess the situa-
tion on the ground. We saw extraordinary damage there caused by flooding when
we flew over Gonaives and Artibonite. People in Gonaives were living on their roofs
as water was still rushing through their neighborhoods. In places where the water
had receded, two to four feet of thick mud was left behind. In Artibonite, dead live-
stock were floating in the same water the people were using to bath in. Haiti is a
country in crisis right now. President Rene Preval told us, "This is Katrina in the
entire country, but without the means that Louisiana had."
The United States is doing a tremendous job assisting Haiti in their recovery fol-
lowing the recent storms. The amount of United States humanitarian assistance
given to Haiti is approaching $30 million. The USS Kearsarge is docked in Port au
Prince and is serving as a logistical and medical staging area. U.S. military per-
sonnel and other officials are doing much of the heavy lifting there in terms of the
recovery and I was proud to have the opportunity to meet with them while we were
there. The USS Kearsarge recently extended their mission for as long as they are
needed in the region, which is good news, because there is much more that needs
to be done.
To further illustrate how-much of a challenge the recovery efforts will be, this
past week Haiti experienced heavy rains, which endangers recovery efforts. There
are also ten more weeks left in the Atlantic Hurricane Season and I am fearful of
what Mother Nature has in store for Haiti in the coming weeks. I am hopeful
though, that the recovery effort in Haiti can keep ahead of any storms to come. We
can assist by reinforcing Haiti's infrastructure and putting in place an early warn-
ing system in the near future to reduce the loss of life and damage to the country.
Haiti's infrastructure is the number one issue facing the country right now. The
president, prime minister and ambassador emphasized this point to us in meetings
in Haiti and Washington. Eight of the country's ten geographic regions were flooded.
The floodwaters washed away roads and bridges, isolating parts of the country.
Many roads and bridges are still impassable, weeks after the latest storm hit.
While the infrastructure needs to be rebuilt, emergency measures need to be
taken immediately. Haiti needs temporary bridges to reach areas isolated by floods,
like Gonaives. Emergency aid cannot get to the people who need it unless there are
bridges. I cannot stress enough how important it is for Haiti to receive temporary
After the emergency measures have been taken and the most pressing needs of
the people met, Haiti can then take this opportunity to rebuild in a sustainable way.
There will be hurricanes in the future, and it is likely that they will be more power-
ful than ever seen before. We, as Haiti's neighbor, need to help our neighbor transi-
tion into a future of stability and prosperity. But Haiti will continue to be ravaged
by external factors, like hurricanes and food prices, unless they can rebuild their
infrastructure. Roads and bridges need to be built to last-they need to survive
mudslides and flooding. Floodwalls and levies could hold back rising waters and pro-
tect low-lying areas. The forests need to be replanted, so the topsoil will hold the
rainwater and prevent flooding. The people of Haiti need clean water and modern
Haiti cannot rebuild its infrastructure with an eye to the future without help. We
can provide Haiti with the assistance to do so, not only with monetary support, but
with the expertise of our agencies. If we commit to helping Haiti in this way, we
can be sure that we will not see the destruction on the same level that we have
seen in Haiti during the last decade.
In 2008, the perfect storm of high energy costs and commodity expenses erupted
in a food crisis in Haiti. People rioted because of widespread hunger, and many peo-
ple were forced to start eating mud cakes to stave off the hunger. Because much
of Haiti's food is imported, the country is especially vulnerable to world commodity
prices, which have skyrocketed in recent months.
The rice crop was especially important to Haiti and just before it was time to har-
vest the crop, it was wiped out when the storms hit the country. When we visited
Haiti we flew over Artibonite, where many of these crops are grown, we saw wide-
spread destruction and the loss of not only rice crops, but mangos and plantains as
well. These rice crops were destroyed at the worst possible time: when the country
was looking forward to an influx of food and after Haiti's farmers had already in-
vested the capital in the crop. Next season's rice crop is now in danger as well, be-
cause the farmers do not have the means to invest in the next crop.
The crop losses Haiti experienced leaves the country even more heavily dependent
on foreign imports, as prices around the world continue to rise. At markets through-
out Haiti, prices for basic food have more than doubled since the storms hit.
Haitian farmers are especially vulnerable to natural disasters like the ones we
have seen in the last month. The United States needs to help Haiti strengthen its
agricultural sector, a part of the economy that two-thirds of all Haitians depend on.
This past April, the rising cost of food in Haiti led to political unrest. Riots broke
out and killed seven people, including a U.N. Peacekeeper. The riots collapsed the
government and led to the dismissal of Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis from
Haiti was without a head of government from April until September 5, 2008,
when the new prime minister was installed after months of deadlock. Prime Min-
ister Michele Pierre-Louis came into office in the midst of this disaster and has ad-
mitted that she is in a vulnerable situation. She fears she may be forced from office
unless her country receives more help. Haiti needs a stable government to lead the
country out of its prolonged crisis and this government needs the backing of the
United States to stabilize.
The Haitian Diaspora has brought over 450,000 Haitians to our country, including
about 200,000 who are not citizens. Over 47,000 of my constituents of my district
in Brooklyn, NY are of Haitian descent or came to Brooklyn directly from Haiti. The
remittances these immigrants send back to their homeland account for nearly a
quarter of Haiti's gross domestic product (GDP). That is more than double what the
country earns from exports.
One thing the United States can do to immediately help our neighbor stabilize
is grant Haitians living in the U.S. Temporary Protected Status (TPS). TPS would
allow Haitians living in the U.S. to work legally so they can send money back home.
TPS can be granted when a foreign state requests it because it is unable to handle
the return of its nationals because of a natural disaster and Haiti certainly quali-
fies. President Rene Preval wrote to President Bush in February requesting him to
grant Haitians TPS to help his country recover from storms that hit in previous
years, like Tropical Storm Noel in 2007 and Hurricane Jeanne in 2004. President
Preval explained to the President Bush that TPS, "would enable my government to
concentrate its limited resources upon economic and political reconstruction instead
of having to provide social services to (deportees)." TPS can also be granted to a
country if there are temporary and extraordinary circumstances on the ground that
prevent aliens from returning, another condition that Haiti satisfies.
TPS is not a pathway to citizenship or permanent residency-it is exactly as its
name would imply-temporary. When TPS expires when the situation on the ground
in the country is more stable, the status aliens in our country changes and they can
return home or face deportation. There is a long history of granting TPS to coun-
tries after they face natural disasters: in 2001 President Bush granted TPS to Sal-
vadorans after earthquakes hit their country. Haiti's current natural disaster is
compounded by the instability the country was already facing because of extreme
poverty and food insecurity. Granting TPS is the most inexpensive and immediate
forms of aid we can extend to Haiti.
Whether or not the administration chooses to grant Haitian's TPS, we need to im-
mediately halt deportations to Haiti from the U.S. It is unconscionable that we
would choose to send an individual back to his home country when it is facing such
a dire situation. It is a burden on the home country, which is trying to stabilize,
and dangerous to the person facing deportation. I want to take this opportunity to
call on Attorney General Michael Mukasey to immediately grant Haitians relief
from deportations by granting them deferred enforced departure (DED).
I join my colleagues in requesting an emergency appropriation for $300 million
for disaster assistance in Haiti before Congress adjourns. In a letter to Speaker
Pelosi, one of Haiti's champions, Rep. Maxine Waters, explained, "Haiti is already
the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. It does not have the capacity to
respond to the widespread death and destruction caused by the storms of this mag-
nitude. Immediate assistance from the United States is critical to meet the emer-
agency needs of the Haitian people and to begin to rebuild damaged homes and infra-
As is the case with all countries around the globe, there is a strong correlation
between America's security and the events occurring in neighboring countries just
outside our borders. Sitting just off the coast of Florida, Haiti has long been an ally
to the U.S., and is a partner on issues relating to drug interdiction and human
smuggling. Because of its sizable population and proximity, Haiti has an important
role in the future of a successful Third Border Initiative, ensuring that the Carib-
bean does not act as a portal into the U.S. from the outside world for those who
wish to do us harm.
Our ability to have an effective partnership with Haiti to address these issues is
dependent on having stability both within the government and within the greater
society. During my recent trip to Haiti, I became greatly concerned that if things
continue as they are without the support of our government, the country could po-
tentially fall into a state of unrest that would both complicate our relationship with
their government and breed the type of conditions that can lead to increased levels
of international organized crime.
Another growing concern which may have a serious impact on our border security
is the prospect of a mass Haitian migration caused by further natural disasters or
worsening conditions on the island. Because Haiti is so close to American waters
this is a possibility and, in fact, there is precedent for such an event, as the Coast
Guard routinely finds Haitian refugees on boats and rafts attempting to make their
way to Florida. While the Coast Guard has planned for the possibility of a mass
Haitian migration of tens-of-thousands, this would create a very difficult situation
for the Department of Homeland Security and could dramatically impact people in
our coastal communities and in places like New York, which attracts high levels of
Haitian immigrants. Therefore, speaking as a member of the House Committee on
Homeland Security, I believe it is in America's best interest to ensure that stability
is maintained in Haiti.
THIRD BORDER INITIATIVE
According to the Congressional Research Service, The Third Border Initiative
(TBI) was introduced by President George W. Bush during the Third Summit of the
Americas in Quebec City in April 2001, as a valuable framework for structuring our
engagement across the broad spectrum of matters that affect the prosperity and
well-being of the region and its peoples. The Bush Administration developed the
Third Border Initiative in order to better focus the U.S.-Caribbean relationship and
work with our partners on a number of capacity building tasks. The initiative recog-
nizes the special significance of the Caribbean as an important partner of the
United States and the Caribbean. The Third Border Initiative will strengthen the
ability of Caribbean institutions to address social and economic problems, combat
transnational crime, and promote regional security. Brian Nichols, director of State's
Office of Caribbean Affairs, pointed to the "Third Border Initiative," established by
the United States in 2001, as an example of U.S.-Caribbean cooperation in dealing
with potential terrorist threats.
The objective of the Third Border Initiative is to focus U.S.-Caribbean engagement
through targeted programs that compromise both new and ongoing activities de-
signed to enhance cooperation in the diplomatic, security, economic, environmental,
health, and education arenas without prejudice to additional areas of collaboration
that may be agreed upon in the future. The Third Border Initiative provides the op-
portunity to focus funding and assistance on those areas where we see the greatest
Through TBI assistance, the United States will help Caribbean governments pre-
pare for natural disasters through technical improvements to the region's disaster
early warning and communication systems and ensure that disaster risk reduction
and mitigation concepts are explicitly integrated into the regions economic planning
and implementation. TBI funds will also help smaller economies move toward great-
er competitiveness by assisting targeted business sectors in the region meet the re-
quirements for successful participation in the global marketplace.
The TBI must be fully funded and I have introduced a resolution to express how
important it is for the' TBI to be fully funded.
Mr. SIRES [presiding]. Thank you very much.
The chair will now recognize the Honorable Donna Edwards from
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE DONNA F. EDWARDS, A REP-
RESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MARY-
Ms. EDWARDS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would just echo my
colleagues when I say my appreciation and gratitude to this com-
mittee for convening this emergency hearing on the current situa-
tion in Haiti.
I traveled to Haiti, as you know, with my colleagues here, Con-
gressman Meek and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, and I want to
also extend my gratitude to Congressman Meek for stepping up to
the plate to get us together right away in an emergency to go to
Haiti and to make sure that we could see firsthand what was hap-
pening on the ground there and to my other colleagues who have
had a. longstanding interest and concern with Haiti over the years.
I appreciate all of the hard work you have done, and I certainly
join in supporting Congresswoman Maxine Waters' request for
$300 million in emergency assistance to Haiti.
While I am new to the Congress, I am not new to Haiti. I had
previously been at a private foundation for 10 years, and we have
had about a 20-year relationship at the ARCA Foundation with
Haiti over the years, funding many different projects, some of them
hit or miss, over the years, in Haiti, and including most recent ef-
forts to try to document undocumented Haitians on the Dominican
and Haitian border with the UNHCR.
So we know that Haiti has struggled, over the years, and I think
that the recent hurricanes actually call us to action in a different
kind of way, to think differently about Haiti and differently about
the rebuilding of the country.
I just want to echo the statements of my colleagues today about
the level of devastation that the island has experienced as these
four hurricanes really tore through the country.
As we take action, in the closing days of this Congress, to help
our fellow Americans recover from Hurricane Ike in Texas and
Louisiana, and our hearts go out to those people who are without
their homes and without electricity and water, even at this stage,
we really cannot forget the pain and the suffering and the devasta-
tion of our southern neighbor, in Haiti. Haiti bore the wrath of not
just this final storm, this last storm, Ike, but three previous hurri-
canes, and we are still at the early stages of the hurricane season.
So the time for action, I believe, is really now.
I want to take a moment to just summarize some of the steps
that we can take right now to deal with this crisis and to outline
for you and try to articulate in words the images and accounts that
we witnessed firsthand on the ground in Haiti, or, I should say, in
the air, because so much of Haiti is inaccessible that we were not
really able to get on the ground in the most devastated areas.
As Congresswoman Waters said, the United Nations is esti-
mating that some 800,000 people, or probably 10 percent of the
population, have been affected. The entire food crop, as we could
see, was completely damaged and destroyed, and I thought we had
slides, but I am not sure whether they are up so that you can actu-
ally see the devastated areas, and they will just cycle through.
You can see the bridges that are destroyed, the roads that are
destroyed, homes that, when you look down on them, people are
living on the rooftops. But there are, as Congresswoman Clarke
said, many, many feet of water and mud going through their
homes. The damage to the crops is likely to have a substantial im-
pact for several years because the topsoil has been destroyed and
eroded. Just continue to cycle through.
You can see the water rushing through the streets in Gonaives.
These are rice fields that are completely underwater, and you can
imagine the number of years it is going to take to rebuild the agri-
culture sector in order to support food for the population. As Ms.
Clarke was saying, there are carcasses in the rice fields where peo-
ple were also bathing. .
The transportation infrastructure in Haiti is completely deci-
mated. Several major bridges are destroyed, and, just to give you
an idea, I noticed that the water that overwhelmed the streets and
the roads really has not settled and was still rushing, and we have
actually had reports that there is still rushing water on the streets
in Haiti. So the result, of course, is that thousands of people are
left stranded and isolated.
In order to help these victims, we have to get Haiti the tools that
they need most immediately, and they are most in desperate need,
as you think about that $300 million, and it seems like a lot, but
the needs are really great: Boats, hold dries or ship-repair yards,
small piers for landing stages, a rescue center, life jackets, portable
bridges, and infrastructure funds to build new bridges. I under-
stand that even some of the temporary bridges might not work be-
cause the outlying structures may not be able to even support a
temporary bridge, so there needs to be serious rebuilding.
To help clear out some of the water and restore some normalcy,
the Haitian Ministry of the Interior indicates that the country
needs water pumps, water generators, and water pipes to siphon
off all of that water. The ground is still unable to support heli-
copters landing, unable to support the kind of rebuilding that is
going to be necessary for the infrastructure.
Of course, the short-term needs include medical assistance and
temporary shelters for individuals who have lost their homes, and
we need to put, as my colleagues have indicated, much more pres-
sure on our own administration to grant Haitians in the United
States Temporary Protective Status-it is just unacceptable-and
the needs that have been laid out and demonstrated, not just now
but over the years, are the reason that Temporary Protective Sta-
tus is necessary for Haitians.
It is simply inexplicable why our Government has not acted, and
so whatever this committee and this Congress can do to impress
that upon the administration will be even more important as Haiti
begins to stabilize.
We have demonstrated, obviously, the short-term needs, but we
know that Haiti requires long-term investments as well, including
the rebuilding of the infrastructure, reestablishing a manufacturing
sector in Haiti, and investments in agriculture so that Haiti can
produce its own food and sustain its population, and, of course, re-
forestation to protect Haiti from further environmental degrada-
The needs go deep, but if we do not address these needs and as-
sist our southern neighbors in Haiti, there might be even greater
impacts, both for this country and for the hemisphere, and, of
course, for Haiti; to assist in providing and building civil society in
Haiti to ensure long-term political stability.
Because I came out of philanthropy, I have actually pulled to-
gether a group of philanthropists in New York who will be meeting
in the next couple of weeks to talk about what they can do, and
maybe even in shorter order than what the Congress can do, to
help out Haiti. But it is going to take a combination of the inter-
national community, the United States, obviously, and private phi-
lanthropy to give Haiti all of the tools that it needs to not just sur-
vive, as Congresswoman Lee has said, but to live.
So I thank you very much for your efforts, and I do appreciate
the openness with which we were met by President Preval and
Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis, who, I understand, actually
comes out of civil society, one of the organizations that I was a col-
league with, and I appreciate that, and thank you very much for
your time today.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Edwards follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE DONNA F. EDWARDS, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MARYLAND
Thank you Chairman Engel, Ranking Member Burton and the other members of
the Committee for inviting me here to testify at this very important hearing. It is
an honor to be here today.
As we take action to help our fellow Americans recover from Hurricane Ike in
Texas and Louisiana, we cannot forget the pain and suffering of our southern neigh-
bors. Haiti not only bore the wrath of Ike, but also three additional hurricanes as
they made their way through the Caribbean.
I went to Haiti with two of my colleagues here today, Congressman Kendrick
Meek and Congresswoman Yvette Clark.
Today, I will echo some of the statements my colleagues have already made about
the level of devastation that Haiti experienced after these four hurricanes tore
through the island. I will also attempt to articulate the images and accounts that
I witnessed firsthand that left an impressionable mark on my psyche. Finally, I will
summarize some of the steps that we can and must take to help Haiti during this
time of crisis, because if we do not act immediately to increase our assistance, the
situation in Haiti will only worsen and possibly threaten internal stability and secu-
rity in the hemisphere.
As some of my colleagues were saying previously this morning, the damage in
Haiti is almost immeasurable. The United Nations says some 800,000 people, or al-
most 10 percent of Haiti's population, are in dire need of emergency assistance. I
am focusing my testimony today on some very specific needs as articulated by the
U.S. Navy, the Haitian Ministry of Interior and the U.S. mission in Haiti.
The entire food crop for the fall was destroyed by Hurricane Ike. Rice fields and
other fields of crops were completely flooded. The damage to the crop will likely
have a substantial impact for several years because the soil was also destroyed,
leaving the island with very little salvageable agriculture to sustain itself. If we do
not support the efforts to bring food assistance to Haiti, we could see an increasing
number of Haitians dying of starvation and malnutrition.
The transportation infrastructure in Haiti is completely decimated. Several major
bridges were completely destroyed and major roadways look more like rivers. To
give the Committee and idea of how bad the situation is in Haiti, while there, I no-
ticed that the water that overwhelmed these roads and towns had not settled and
was still rushing. Even today, weeks after Hurricane Ike struck Haiti the U.S. Navy
indicated that there are still some impassable roads and several other roads that
are passable but with enormous difficulty. The result is that thousands of people
are left stranded and isolated, some are still living on their roofs and aid is unable
to reach them.
In order to help these victims, we must help Haiti get the tools they need most
immediately. They are in desperate need of boats, hold dries or ship repair yards,
small piers for landing stages, a rescue center, life jackets, portable bridges and the
infrastructure funds to build new bridges.
Even in the areas of Haiti that assistance was able to reach, the situation was
tragic. I witnessed people bathing in water that contained rotting animal carcasses
because basic utilities such as water, sewer, and power infrastructure were com-
To help clear out some of this water and restore some sort of normalcy, the Hai-
tian Ministry of Interior indicated that the country needs water pumps, water gen-
erators, and water pipes.
Other short-term needs for Haiti include medical assistance and temporary shel-
ters for individuals that have lost their homes. We also must put pressure on our
own Administration to grant Haitians in the United States Temporary Protected
Status. The needs I have laid out in my testimony are not exhaustive. Haiti has
several other short-term needs but we would be shortsighted if we only focus on
what this body can do in the short-term. We must also focus on the long-term needs
in an effort to stabilize Haiti.
These long-term needs include investment in rebuilding infrastructure, reestab-
lishing a manufacturing sector in Haiti, investments in agriculture so Haiti can
produce the food it needs to sustain its population and reforestation to try to protect
Haiti from further environmental degradation.
I support the efforts that President Ren6 Garcia Preval and Prime Minister
Michele Pierre-Louis are making to reach out to the international community in the
next couple of weeks.
Before I close, I would also like to thank Ambassador Janet A. Sanderson for her
tireless dedication and commitment. I would like to thank all of the humanitarian
groups and aid groups that are currently in Haiti in an effort to assist the victims
of these hurricanes. The work they do and have done is invaluable and in situations
like the one in Haiti their work really does make the difference between life and
I offer a special thank you to the USS Kearsarge and specifically Captain Walter
Towns, Commodore Fernandez "Frank" Ponds, and the Rear Adm. Joseph Kernan.
They have been working tirelessly to bring aid to Haiti. I just found out yesterday
that the USS Kearsarge will depart Haiti in a matter of days. It is imperative that
their mission be extended until the communication lines have been established and
until the Haitian government and aid organizations can access these remote areas
by land. We should not turn our back on Haiti. We can afford to help Haiti, the
real question is whether we can afford not to help.
I deeply appreciate this Committee's commitment to Haiti. I look forward to work-
ing with the Committee and all of the other Members here to help address the
needs of Haiti.
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Mr. ENGEL [presiding]. Thank you, Congresswoman Edwards. I
thank all of you. This is truly a very distinguished panel, and I ap-
preciate our colleagues testifying. I wanted just to give anybody an
opportunity, if anyone wanted to comment on anything that any-
body else said. If not, then I want to just acknowledge that Con-
gressman Klein is here, or was here, and Congressman Payne.
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much.
Mr. SIRES. Mr. Chairman, I just want to make sure I have unani-
mous consent that my full statement be added to the record.
Mr. ENGEL. Without objection, so ordered.
Mr. PAYNE. I will just be very brief. I just want to, since I was
delayed and missed the first witness, Congresswoman Waters, I
really did not have to hear what she was going to say because I
knew what she was going to say anyway. She has been saying it
for as long as I have been in the Congress, and I was even here
before she got here, so I would just want to commend the members
of this delegation and those who presented themselves.
This is extremely important. It is a struggle we have been deal-
ing with for decades. It is an area where our hands, our finger-
prints, are on that country that has had something to do with the
lack of development there through the support of dictatorial pow-
ers, like Papa Doc and Baby Doc, and the lack of our Government,
in the past, having positive programs to assist Haiti.
So I think we owe to Haiti responsibility. Haiti was involved in
our fight for independence. Many Haitians died in, in particular,
the Battle of Savannah back in the 1770s, and on and on. The
whole question of the Louisiana Purchase, because of loss of France
to Haiti and then, becoming cash poor and land rich, they were
forced to sell the Louisiana Territory to the United States for prac-
tically nothing, which opened up the West, brought Lewis and
Clark to St. Louis, and they went across the country.
So we are tied into each other historically. It is just the right
thing to do. A billion dollars for Georgia for 1 million people, a pit-
tance for Haiti, with twice the population, and our neighbors that
have been involved, is not right.
So I support what you are proposing, and we certainly appreciate
all of you. I have no questions for you, and we will be working very
closely together. I will, once again, thank Chairman Engel for call-
ing this hearing at this time.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you, Mr. Payne.
Before our colleagues go, Mr. Sires just had a brief question or
Mr. SIRES. I just want to thank the members. I want to commend
you for how quickly you have responded to such a difficult situa-
tion, how you picked yourself up, put everything else behind you,
and you went to the area. I think it is very commendable that you
are there today.
I know how important it is to you, and unless you have been to
some of these areas, after this flood, I do not think you can capture
how devastating it is. I saw boulders moved all over. It was just
incredible, what I saw, and I am sure that that is the same thing
that you saw. But I just want to commend you. It is terrific to say
you are my colleagues. Thank you.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you. I guess we will let that be the last word
because those are my sentiments as well. It is an honor to serve
with all of you, and thank you for coming here this morning.
In about 1 minute, we will proceed to our second panel, which
are the administration witnesses.
Mr. ENGEL. Okay. If our second panel could please take their
seats, I think the names should be there. We are anticipating some
votes in a little while, so perhaps we can get the testimony of our
second panel in before the votes.
The subcommittee is very pleased to welcome our three wit-
nesses: Kirsten D. Madison, who is the deputy assistant secretary
of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs for the U.S. Depart-
ment of State, welcome; Jose Cardenas, who is the acting assistant
administrator of the Latin America and Caribbean Bureau of
USAID, welcome; and Rear Admiral Joseph D. Kernan, who is the
commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command of the
U.S. Fourth Fleet. Welcome, Admiral.
Let us start with Ms. Madison. Let me just say to our panelists,
could you please summarize your testimony in 5 minutes or less,
and, without objection, your official written testimony will go into
the record as printed. Ms. Madison?
STATEMENT OF MS. KIRSTEN D. MADISON, DEPUTY ASSIST-
ANT SECRETARY, BUREAU OF WESTERN HEMISPHERE AF-
FAIRS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Ms. MADISON. Thank you very much. We appreciate the oppor-
tunity to come before the committee.
Mr. ENGEL. Could you please put the microphone a little closer?
Ms. MADISON. Sure. Sorry.
Mr. ENGEL. We want to hear all of your words of wisdom.
Ms. MADISON. I will try and summon some.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you and the other members of the com-
mittee for this opportunity to appear before you to speak about the
situation in Haiti and about the administration's response to hurri-
cane damage there. The administration certainly appreciates and
welcomes this opportunity to hear your concerns and also to have
a constructive dialogue with you about an issue that is very impor-
tant, I think, to all of us.
As you know, in recent weeks, four successive storms ravaged
Haiti. They also caused significant damage in Cuba and in Ja-
maica. The devastation in Haiti is widespread, with extensive dam-
age to housing, agriculture, public infrastructure, and, of course, it
inflicted significant suffering on the people of Haiti themselves.
The administration's response has been immediate, and it has
been crucial. U.S. Government agencies, such as the Agency for
International Development, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy,
and, of course, our Embassy team in Haiti have put forth an enor-
mous effort to meet Haiti's immediate humanitarian needs in the
aftermath of the storms.
We have already devoted more than $29.5 million in emergency
food and relief commodities which are now flowing, and will con-
tinue to flow, to the affected areas.
I will limit my remarks on the U.S. relief effort to this statement,
since, frankly, you will have the opportunity to hear more detailed
and in-depth descriptions from my colleagues from USAID and
from Southern Command.
While we and other donors continue to address the immediate
needs of Haiti's people, the administration is looking ahead simul-
taneously to determine the needs for the long-term reconstruction
and rehabilitation in Haiti. Other international donors are also
looking at reconstruction needs and their own resources, which is
critical, given what we believe to be the extent of the impact on
Haiti and its citizens.
We know that food security, already a concern before the storms
and a priority in United States assistance efforts, has become even
more fragile due to the extensive damage to Haiti's agricultural
sector. Beyond that, Haiti's roads, bridges, airports, schools, and
power grid have all been severely affected.
The starting point for the development of a comprehensive plan
to help Haiti is an accurate and comprehensive assessment of the
damages and what will be needed to reverse them. This process is
already underway and involves the joint efforts of the United
States and Haitian Governments, the international donor commu-
nity, the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), and
other international relief agencies.
Once we determine needs, we will consult with Haiti's Govern-
ment, as well as other major donors and partners, to ensure that
the quickest and- most effective recovery effort possible is under-
Let me add that coordination among donors and partners in
Haiti is ongoing, with frequent contacts between ambassadors, rep-
resentatives of international financial institutions and relief agen-
cies, and the government in Haiti. Other consultative mechanisms
also facilitate coordination of support for Haiti, such as the Key
Players Meeting, which will happen this week in New York, which
Under Secretary for Political Affairs Bill Burns will chair. Presi-
dent Preval will attend that meeting, which is very important.
I would like to touch very briefly, as the committee requested, on
the current political situation in Haiti. After 4 months of political
turmoil the Haitian Parliament approved by the government of
Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis on September 4th, even as the
country felt the impact of Hurricane Gustav.
Prime Minister Pierre-Louis and her government do not have
anything approaching a honeymoon period. They began work
amidst a crisis that continues today.
The support of Haiti's friends and partners will be invaluable to
Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis' government, as it seeks to ad-
dress the crisis caused by the storms and the very real needs that
Haiti had prior to the hurricane season. Economic development,
good governments, democratic development, security, and humani-
tarian needs still must be addressed.
As you know, these program areas are all part of our ongoing ef-
forts in Haiti, which, at $234 million in Fiscal Year 2008, remains
one of the largest assistance programs that we have in the Western
In addition to Secretary Rice's own conversation with President
Preval, our Ambassador in Port-au-Prince, as well as U.S. senior
visitors, such as Under Secretary Henrietta Fore, have already
reach out to the Prime Minister to assure her of our support and
commitment to Haiti.
I think I will stop there and let my colleagues, Mr. C6rdenas and
Admiral Kernan, brief you on the details of the U.S. response, and
I look forward to answering your questions upon their completion.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Madison follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF Ms. KIRSTEN D. MADISON, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY,
BUREAU OF WESTERN HEMISPHERE AFFAIRS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Mr. Chairman, I thank you and other members of the Committee for this oppor-
tunity to appear before you to speak about the situation in Haiti and Administra-
tion's response to hurricane damage in Haiti. The Administration appreciates and
welcomes the Committee's concern. We look forward to a constructive dialogue with
you as we seek the way forward.
In recent weeks, four successive storms ravaged Haiti and caused significant dam-
age in Cuba and Jamaica. The devastation in Haiti is widespread with extensive
damage to housing, agriculture, and public infrastructure and infliction of signifi-
cant suffering on the Haitian people.
The Administration's response has been immediate and crucial. U.S. Government
agencies, including the Agency for International Development, the U.S. Coast
Guard, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Embassy in Haiti, have put forth an enormous
effort to meet Haiti's humanitarian needs in the aftermath of the storms. We have
already devoted more than $29.5 million in emergency food and relief commodities,
which are now flowing and will continue to flow to affected areas. I will limit my
remarks on the U.S. relief effort to this statement since you will have the oppor-
tunity to hear more detailed and in-depth descriptions from USAID Acting Assistant
Administrator Jose R. Cardenas and Rear Admiral Joseph Kernan, Commander,
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and Commander, U.S. Fourth Fleet.
While we continue to address the immediate needs of Haiti's people, the Adminis-
tration is looking ahead simultaneously to determine the needs for the long-term re-
construction and rehabilitation in Haiti. We know that food security, already a con-
cern before the storms, has become even more critical due to the extensive damage
to Haiti's agricultural sector. Beyond that, Haiti's roads, bridges, airports, schools,
and power grid have all been severely affected.
The starting point for development of a comprehensive plan to help Haiti is an
accurate and comprehensive assessment of the damages and what will be needed
to reverse them. This process is already underway, and involves the joint efforts of
the U.S. and Haitian governments, the international donor community, the UN Sta-
bilization Mission in Haiti and other international relief agencies. Once we deter-
mine needs, we will consult with Haiti's government, as well as other major donors,
international relief agencies, and multilateral institutions to ensure the quickest
and most effective recovery effort.
Let me add that coordination among donors and partners in Haiti is ongoing with
frequent contacts between ambassadors, representatives of international financial
institutions and relief agencies, and the government in Haiti. Other consultative
mechanisms also facilitate coordination of support for Haiti, such as the Haiti Key
Players meeting, which will be chaired by Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Wil-
liam Burns, in New York on the margins of the UN General Assembly. President
Preval will attend.
I would like to touch briefly on the current political situation in Haiti. After four
months of political turmoil, the Haitian Parliament approved the government of
Prime Minister Michelle Pierre-Louis on September 4, as the country felt the impact
of Hurricane Gustav. PM Pierre-Louis and her government did not have a honey-
moon period. They began work amidst a crisis that continues today. The support
of Haiti's friends and partners will be invaluable to PM Michelle Pierre-Louis's gov-
ernment as it seeks to address the crisis caused by the storms and the very real
needs that Haiti had prior to hurricane season. Economic development, good govern-
ance, democratic development, security, and humanitarian needs still must be ad-
dressed. Our Ambassador in Port au Prince as well as senior U.S. visitors, such as
USAID Administrator and Director of Foreign Assistance Henrietta Fore, have al-
ready reached out to the Prime Minister to assure her of our support and commit-
ment to Haiti.
I think I will stop here to allow Mr. Cardenas and Admiral Kernan to brief you.
I look forward to answering your questions afterwards. Thank you.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF MR. JOSE R. CARDENAS, ACTING ASSISTANT
ADMINISTRATOR, LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN BU-
REAU, U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Mr. CARDENAS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman and
members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to ap-
pear before you today to report on USAID's response to the recent
hurricanes in Haiti.
I am joined by my colleague, Mr. Ky Luu, director of USAID's Of-
fice of Foreign Disaster Assistance, otherwise known as "OFDA,"
who can address technical questions about our current disaster-re-
As has been noted, and quite eloquently, by the previous panel,
Haiti is experiencing one of the worst natural disasters in its re-
cent history, with great damage caused to Haiti's housing, agri-
culture, public infrastructure, and education systems. The U.S.
Government response to the emergency in Haiti has been both
swift and decisive, but, clearly, there is more to be done, both now
and in the immediate future.
To date, the U.S. Government has mobilized over $30 million for
food, shelter, water, and relief activities in response to the current
disaster. Directing our emergency effort on the ground is a 10-
member, USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team, known as a
"DART." To support the DART, USAID has activated, as well, a
Response Management Team here at our headquarters in Wash-
ington. OFDA has also deployed a three-person team to supplement
the U.N. Disaster Assessment and Coordination Team currently
based in Gonaives.
As of September 20, we have transported 1,217 metric tons of
emergency food and relief commodities and over 99,000 liters of
drinking water to meet the immediate needs of Haitians, and this,
of course, in collaboration with our partners.
In addition, USAID's Office of Food for Peace is providing an ad-
ditional $14 million in emergency food relief. This funding comes
on top of a $45 million emergency program announced earlier this
year in response to rising prices.
Additional USAID contributions include the following: $2 million
for the short- and medium-term repair of bridges and roads to fa-
cilitate the movement and distribution of emergency relief supplies;
$500,000 in funding to the American Red Cross for logistical sup-
port and emergency relief supplies; $1.5 million to the Inter-
national Organization for Migration for shelter and settlement
projects, distribution of nonfood assistance, as well as humani-
tarian-coordination activities; $500,000 to the Pan-American
Health Organization for health activities benefiting 10,000 people;
and $2 million to the United Nations World Food program to aug-
ment logistical capacity for the delivery of humanitarian aid.
Our mission in Haiti also reprogrammed $5 million to support
immediate cleanup, rehabilitate damaged infrastructure, and un-
dertake some flood-prevention activities. To the extent feasible,
these activities are labor-intensive methods-Food for Work, Cash
for Work-providing short-term jobs and needed income to affected
families to help them reestablish their livelihoods.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control have deployed medical per-
sonnel to assist in setting up systems to monitor for outbreaks of
Mr. Chairman, USAID is currently in the emergency relief phase
of our response. Looking ahead, we see significant needs in the
flood-affected zones of Haiti and the reconstruction and recovery
phase, in particular, in five critical areas: (1) repairing public infra-
structure, (2) helping to restore public services, (3) supporting
small businesses, producers, farms, and families in order to try to
revitalize economic activity; (4) watershed stabilization and repair;
and (5) improving disaster-mitigation capacity.
Before concluding my statement, Mr. Chairman, I also wanted to
echo some of the statements made on the previous panel and recog-
nize the tremendous, literally, life-saving work of the men and
women of the USS Kearsarge during the past 2 weeks.
The deployment of the Kearsarge to Haiti to assist in disaster re-
lief was, frankly, a game changer, and we owe them our deep grati-
tude. I also wanted to recognize the tremendous contribution of the
United Nations stabilization mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, who
have mobilized their manpower and equipment in support of the
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, the U.S. Government is using its
wide-ranging assistance resources to help Haiti recover from these
disasters. We remain fully committed to helping one of our closest
neighbors and our oldest friends during this difficult time.
I welcome any questions that you and other members of the sub-
committee may have. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Cardenas follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF MR. JOSE R. CARDENAS, ACTING ASSISTANT ADMINIS-
TRATOR, LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN BUREAU, U.S. AGENCY FOR INTER-
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, it is a privilege to appear before the
Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
to report on USAID's response to the hurricanes in Haiti. USAID's response has
been immediate and crucial, but the needs in Haiti will be severe for the foreseeable
I am joined by my colleague Ky Luu from the Office of Foreign Disaster Assist-
ance, who can address technical questions about our disaster relief efforts. I am also
pleased to be joined in this panel by my colleagues from the United States Southern
Command and the Department of State.
I also appreciate hearing from Rep. Meek and the other Members who recently
visited Haiti. The leadership provided by Members of Congress on Haiti has been
essential to strengthening our country's commitment to Haiti.
For over fifty years, Haitians have suffered from a series of violent social and po-
litical upheavals. The government changes were capricious, almost never the result
of transparent or predictable election cycles, and were frequently accompanied by
repression of dissenting voices. These political and security crises have been hugely
detrimental to Haiti's economic and social development. Haiti remains the poorest
country in the Western Hemisphere and some social, economic and environmental
indicators are among the weakest in the world. Nearly 80% of the population lives
on less than $2 per day. Unemployment and underemployment remain major prob-
lems. One out of every eight children dies before reaching the age of five.
The widespread poverty seriously impairs the ability of Haiti's citizens to pur-
chase sufficient food, and an estimated 2.5 million Haitians experience chronic food
insecurity. A dramatic rise in food prices earlier this year led to food riots in April.
These riots resulted in the ousting of Prime Minister Alexis, and a tumultuous pe-
riod of several months without an effective government.
As you all know, Haiti is experiencing one of the worst natural disasters in its
recent history. Within the space of three weeks, between August 15 and September
7, Haiti was hit by four major storms. Between August 15 and 16, Tropical Storm
Fay moved across the Island of Hispaniola, through the Dominican Republic and
Haiti, resulting in three continuous days of heavy rainfall and flooding. On August
26, Tropical Storm Gustav passed over Haiti and additional rainfall and winds af-
fected eight of Haiti's ten Departments, bringing widespread flooding before moving
on to hit Jamaica on August 28. Beginning on September 1, Tropical Storm Hanna
brought still more rainfall and winds throughout the country. Finally, on September
7, heavy rains from Hurricane Ike had a significant impact on Haiti, compounding
and extending the flooding into previously unaffected areas.
The passage of four tropical weather systems within less than a month caused
widespread suffering among the Haitian people, affecting housing, agriculture, pub-
lic infrastructure, and education.
To date, the Government of Haiti has reported 423 confirmed deaths, with ap-
proximately 850,000 people having lost homes or livelihoods. Over 100,000 people
are currently staying in temporary shelters across the country. Because of high
water levels and many feet of mud, thousands are forced to live on rooftops, waiting
for flood waters to recede. The damage is country-wide, affecting all major popu-
lation centers outside the capital, as well as rural areas. Some of the most dramatic
damage occurred in the city of Gonaives, where floodwaters covered much of the city
and surrounding countryside.
Before the storms impacted the island, Haiti was already suffering from the global
food crisis. Violent protests were staged in provincial towns and Port-au-Prince in
April 2008 by Haitians unable to meet the rising cost of food. After Hurricane Ike,
preliminary assessments confirmed that Haiti's agricultural sector suffered severe
damage in the wake of the storms and the entire harvest of the current agricultural
season was either lost or severely damaged. Standing maize, sorghum, bean, cas-
sava and banana plantations have been destroyed in at least 75 communes in the
ten regions of the country. While multiple relief organizations are responding rap-
idly to deliver water, food, and supplies to the victims, the humanitarian situation
remains precarious, especially given inadequate access to affected areas. Important
emergency food stocks designed to meet Haiti's needs for the next few months have
been rapidly depleting due to increased need for emergency distribution as a result
of the storms.
Flooding and landslides destroyed key bridges and roads, cutting off many land
routes and hampering humanitarian assistance efforts. The cutoff of vital arteries
around the country has led Haitian President Pr6val to call his country today "un-
governable." The destruction of Haiti's infrastructure has not yet been fully as-
U.S. GOVERNMENT HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE
USAID Administrator Henrietta H. Fore recently visited Haiti, where she saw
first-hand the extensive devastation caused by the storms. She also met with Hai-
tian President Preval and discussed the urgent need for a coherent and coordinated
response from the international donor community. USG disaster response teams on
the ground work closely with Government of Haiti counterparts in all aspects of
planning and execution of the disaster response. We also maintain close coordina-
tion with other international donors and aid organizations. In addition to regular
working meetings in Haiti, we pursue other coordination opportunities, such as the
Haiti Key Players meeting, which will take place in New York on September 24,
to be chaired by Under Secretary for Political Affairs William Burns.
Our response to the current crisis has been swift and decisive. On September 2,
U.S. Ambassador Janet A. Sanderson issued a disaster declaration in response to
Hurricane Gustav and resulting flooding throughout Haiti. To date, the USG has
mobilized $29.6 million for food, shelter, water, and relief activities in response to
the current disaster.
USAID/Haiti reprogrammed $5 million in funds from development to humani-
tarian relief, to support immediate clean-up, rehabilitate damaged infrastruc-
ture, and undertake some flood prevention activities. To the extent feasible,
these activities use labor-intensive methods, providing short-term jobs and
needed income to affected families to help them re-establish their livelihoods.
USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) is working
to program a total of $9.8 million for provision of non-food relief supplies, and
programs addressing basic infrastructure needs, health, and water, sanita-
tion, and hygiene. Facilitation of these interventions are being managed by
a ten-member USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (USAID/DART). To
support the USAID/DART, USAID/OFDA has activated a Response Manage-
ment Team (RMT) in Washington.
On September 4, a USAID/OFDA-chartered aircraft arrived in Port au Prince,
delivering USAID/OFDA emergency relief supplies including hygiene kits,
ten-liter water containers, and rolls of plastic sheeting. Worth nearly
$335,000 including transport, the supplies were transported to affected areas
with assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard and implementing partner Inter-
national Organization for Migration (IOM).
On September 11, a second USAID/OFDA-chartered aircraft arrived with ad-
ditional ten-liter water containers, hygiene kits, and rolls of plastic sheeting,
and 2 water bladders, valued at more than $410,000, including transport.
USAID/OFDA also authorized the deployment of a three-person Americas
Support Team to Haiti to supplement the United Nations Disaster Assess-
ment and Coordination team based in Gonaives.
Additional USAID/OFDA contribution includes the following:
$2 million for the short and medium term repair of bridges and roads
to facilitate the movement and distribution of emergency relief supplies.
$500,000 in funding to the American Red Cross logistical support and
emergency relief supplies.
$1.5 million to IOM for shelter and settlement projects, distribution of
non-food assistance, as well as humanitarian coordination activities.
$500,000 to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in response
to PAHO's appeal to support the Government of Haiti and relief organi-
zations with health activities, benefiting 10,000 people.
$2 million to the United Nations World Food Program to augment
logistical capacity for delivery of humanitarian aid.
$750,000 to World Vision to support the distribution of non-food relief
supplies and water, sanitation and hygiene activities, benefiting nearly
In addition, USAID's Office of Food for Peace is providing $14 million of P.L.
480 Title II emergency food aid to be provided through the United Nations
World Food Program, World Vision, and Catholic Relief Services to respond
to relief and recovery food aid needs in Haiti. These organizations were al-
ready covering approximately 90% of the Haitian territory with feeding pro-
grams, reaching 1.5 million of Haiti's poorest and most vulnerable citizens.
The programs' coverage has been expanded to provide emergency feeding in
additional areas impacted by the storms.
The US Department of Defense has contributed $1,021,660 as of September
22 to cover costs of emergency relief activities.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has deployed medical personnel
to assist in setting up systems monitor for outbreaks of infectious diseases
As of September 16, we have transported 6782 metric tons of emergency food and
relief commodities and over 99,000 liters of safe drinking water to meet the imme-
diate needs of Haitians, in collaboration with our partners.'
On September 5, U.S. Navy's 4th Fleet diverted the amphibious ship USS Kear-
sarge from Colombia to assist the Haitian people. On September 8, the USS Kear-
sarge arrived in Haiti, bringing urgently needed air and sealift capacity to transport
relief aid to the flooded areas inaccessible by road. USS Kearsarge support to Haiti
includes the movement of food, cargo and equipment between Port-au-Prince and
Gonaives, Jeremie, Saint Marc, Port de Paix, Jacmel and Les Cayes. USAID/Haiti
and USAID/OFDA are working closely with IOM, the United Nations Children's
Fund (UNICEF), and the donors' water, sanitation, and hygiene cluster to identify
logistics and transport options in order to provide water generated by the USS
'This amount should read 872, not 6782 (corrected after hearing).
Kearsarge for populations without access to safe drinking water. The USS Kear-
sarge mission in Haiti, originally slated to last until September 13, has been ex-
In addition to providing logistics support for delivery of humanitarian assistance,
engineers from the USS Kearsarge have joined with USAID/Haiti engineers to as-
sess road conditions and damage to bridges, in order to discuss priority infrastruc-
ture interventions with the Government of Haiti. U.S. Department of Defense engi-
neers are working closely with the Government of Haiti Ministry of Public Works,
Transport, and Communication to provide technical advice and conduct research in
order to clarify the Ministry's identified infrastructure needs.
MINUSTAH are providing security and logistics support to ongoing humanitarian
The Center for International Disaster Information, is actively reaching out to the
Haitian Diaspora and other organizations or individuals to assist in channeling hu-
manitarian donations to those most affected by this disaster.
We are joining with the Haitian Diaspora to participate in Haiti's recovery and
creation of livelihoods, by committing an initial $2 million to leverage Diaspora in-
vestments in small and medium business enterprises in Haiti. USAID's contribution
will serve as a catalyst to mobilize other donor and private sector contributions to
WHERE ARE WE GOING?
USAID is currently in the emergency relief phase of our response. Looking ahead,
we see significant needs in the flood affected zones of Haiti in the reconstruction
and recovery phase in five critical areas:
Repair Public Infrastructure. There is a strong need to stimulate economic activity
and help resume public services, preferably utilizing manual labor to allow Haitian
families to receive immediate infusions of cash to temporarily offset lost livelihoods.
This includes rebuilding schools and clinics; road and small bridge repair; and water
and sanitation systems restoration.
Help Restore Public Services. In addition to repairing physical damage to schools,
health clinics, and other public buildings, the restoration of public services will re-
quire replacing damaged or ruined equipment and medical and school supplies.
Support Small Business, Producers, Farms and Families. Self-help and income
generation programs could provide a means to help small businesses recover. This
includes micro-loans; seeds, tools, and livestock distribution; and support for fami-
Watershed Stabilization and Repair. Assistance is required to support the restora-
tion of agricultural production through irrigation repair and flood control; stabilize
weak hillsides to prevent further damage to agricultural and transportation sys-
tems; and strengthen water user associations.
Improve Disaster Mitigation Capacity. National and local governments and com-
munity groups need support in reducing disaster vulnerability through better plan-
ning, risk assessment, and preparedness measures.
The U.S. is using its wide-ranging assistance resources to help Haiti recover from
this disaster. We remain firmly committed to helping one of our closest neighbors
during this difficult time.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my statement. I welcome any questions that you
and other Members of the Subcommittee may have. Thank you.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you, Mr. Cardenas.
Admiral Kernan? Let me just say that, Admiral, I want to thank,
as was just mentioned, the service personnel on the USS Kear-
sarge. We truly appreciate everything that they are doing. Admi-
STATEMENT OF REAR ADMIRAL JOSEPH D. KERNAN, COM-
MANDER, U.S. NAVAL FORCES SOUTHERN COMMAND, U.S.
Admiral KERNAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Chairman Engel,
distinguished members of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemi-
sphere, thank you for the opportunity to discuss Southern Com-
mand's and the Fourth Fleet's role in the ongoing hurricane relief
efforts in Haiti.
I spent 10 days in Haiti, both on the ground and on the USS
Kearsarge, certainly overseeing military contributions to the relief
efforts, but also to facilitate and participate in the coordination of
all U.S. Government, United Nations, and nongovernmental orga-
nization relief efforts. I will overview our activities and endeavor
to provide you a useful perspective, both of the situation and the
ongoing collective relief efforts.
As you might expect, DoD's role, which was directed to us, was,
in fact, to conduct humanitarian assistance, disaster response, and
disaster relief in order to mitigate human suffering and loss of life
in Haiti. Our method to do that was to deploy forces to best sup-
port USAID, OFDA, and Ambassador Sanderson's humanitarian-
assistance requirements, those, of course, coordinated through and
discussed with the Government of Haiti.
Humanitarian assistance and disaster response are Fourth Fleet
missions, along with partnership building and security cooperation,
all of which are, typically, mutually enabling. The Kearsarge was
actually conducting a 4-month, humanitarian-assistance mission in
multiple countries in the region before we diverted her to Haiti.
As do many of our ships, particularly during hurricane season,
she deployed prepared to support disaster-relief missions. We real-
ize the advantages, the responsiveness and the capabilities that we
bring from the USS Kearsarge to serve the immediate needs of a
disaster of this nature.
Very importantly, success in a mission of this nature is depend-
ent upon the cooperative efforts of the U.S. interagency nongovern-
mental organizations, the U.N., and, very critically, the affected na-
tion. In this regard, we relentlessly advocated and facilitated the
establishment of what we would call "clusters." These are func-
tional groups composed of common providers so that the efforts
could be coordinated and best meet the Haitian Government's
needs. Medical, engineering and logistics are examples of these
clusters. Agencies that had any contribution in any of these areas
would meet to coordinate collective efforts so that they could, in
fact, be most effective and most efficient.
Sir, I have provided you a few slides. I am not sure if they are
going to put them up on the screen or not, but I would like to
quickly walk through those slides. They are essentially illustrative
in nature and somewhat consistent with Congresswoman Edwards.
I will comment briefly on each of them and try to give you a view
of the damage, highlight some response efforts, and, again, provide
what it looks like.
The first slide up on the screen, obviously, is illustrative of what
we saw on the ground. Up in the upper-left-hand corner, it is im-
portant to realize that we, as a military, did not come to this area
armed. We relied on that security protection from MINUSTAH,
which, in my mind, worked very, very well. They were very respon-
sive and very supportive to all of the places that we went.
The center section, again, is on the ground in Gonaives. It is a
critical situation. That is pretty much what the whole town looked
On the left-hand-side, obviously, orphanages. We went to a num-
ber of orphanages and provided food and assistance to them. Trag-
ically, in this case, in this orphanage, eight of the parents either
were lost or were recently lost in the floodings, so, additionally, ob-
viously, a critical concern there in this orphanage run by the sis-
ters of a charity, where probably 50 percent of the children were
infected with HIV.
The bottom picture is very important. This is actually the relief
effort in Gonaives when they were in line collecting supplies that
we provided to the area. It is actually a very orderly execution of
the mission of actually delivering those supplies to the people. Only
women were allowed to collect those supplies that we stood on the
ground. There was no rioting. They knew that they were going to
get the humanitarian relief that we provided of an emergency na-
ture so it went extraordinarily well. Slide, please.
This, again-Congresswoman Edwards showed this-this is the
devastation to, obviously, the infrastructure, the housing, the agri-
culture, the public services, all of the implications of this slide, wa-
tershed sanitation, I think, are fairly clear. Next slide, please.
One of the things we did, in addition to providing the mobility
provided by the six helicopters and the three landing craft, we, in
fact, did a number of assessments around the region to determine
what the infrastructure damage was. Those, in fact, were joint
teams that we provided most of the mobility and movement for.
The United Nations, USAID, MINUSTAH, the Haiti public works
all participated in the assessments, and this gives you an idea of
what the six critical, infrastructure bridges were that were prior-
ities for the Haitian Government identified as most important to
them. These, in fact, are illustrative of what the infrastructure sit-
uation looks like on the ground. Next slide, please.
Again, the other three bridges and the locations of those bridges.
There are 12 more dots on this picture than there were when
this was produced. It demonstrates where we have been in the
country by helicopters: 1,500 metric tons of goods delivered. That
includes water. We did actually over 90 air sorties and 27 deliv-
eries from waterborne craft.
So, on order, the Kearsarge, as soon as we believe that the civil
authorities can effectively respond to the situation, without mili-
tary assistance, will depart, and we will remain and finish our hu-
manitarian mission around the area.
This essentially concludes my opening remarks, and I am happy
to answer any questions.
[The prepared statement of Admiral Kernan follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF REAR ADMIRAL JOSEPH D. KERNAN, COMMANDER, U.S.
NAVAL FORCES SOUTHERN COMMAND, U.S. 4TH FLEET
Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member, and distinguished Members of the Committee,
thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the ongoing re-
lief efforts of the U.S. Military in Haiti. I would also like to thank the Committee
for taking the time to examine this important situation in our hemisphere
As a result of a Government of Haiti request for assistance through the U.S. Am-
bassador to Haiti, the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) and the Fourth Fleet
deployed the USS KEARSARGE to Haiti on September 7th to support the U.S.
Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Office of U.S. Foreign Dis-
aster Assistance (OFDA) in their relief efforts. Prior to the response in Haiti, the
USS KEARSARGE was conducting a humanitarian mission in Colombia as part of
a humanitarian assistance deployment in Central and South America and the Car-
ibbean region called "Continuing Promise 2008." The timing of and preparation for
this mission was purposeful. The USS KEARSARGE was not only prepared for its
planned humanitarian assistance visits, but also to respond to disasters of this na-
ture during the hurricane season. Our primary mission in Haiti is to support overall
USG efforts to conduct disaster relief in order to mitigate human suffering and loss
of life. Our forces have delivered over 1000 metric tons of relief supplies, principally
food, and almost 10,000 2.5 gallon water bags to devastated areas in Haiti, and that
number continues to grow every day. KEARSARGE support to Haiti includes the
air and waterborne movement of cargo and equipment between Port-au-Prince and
Gonaives, Jeremie, Saint Marc, Port de Paix, Jacmel, and Les Cayes. The KEAR-
SARGE has also been able to employ its medical capabilities to conduct assess-
ments, provide care, and recommend protocols to mitigate current and future dis-
aster-induced medical issues. The USS KEARSARGE engineering team, augmented
by SOUTHCOM engineers, is working with USAID, the United Nations Stabiliza-
tion Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), and the Government of Haiti to conduct assess-
ments of basic infrastructure damage and needs, with a focus on bridges and roads.
All of the efforts described above would not have been possible without coordi-
nated and combined efforts with our interagency partners, non-governmental orga-
nizations (NGOs), MINUSTAH, other UN organizations, and the Haitian govern-
ment. I have personally been in Haiti to oversee U.S. Military contributions to these
operations and I can testify to the success of these collective efforts and the great
work being done by our young Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, DOD Civilians,
and Coastguardsmen. I thank you for your interest and support and am prepared
to answer your questions.
USS iKEARSARGE$rewndaet in o
assistance. Cooperation with host nation, NGOs, and other partners has been the key to reach-
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assistance. Cooperation with host nation, NGOs, and other partners has been the key to reach-
ing those who need medical attention and basic supplies of food and water.
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A joint effort to identify critical infrastructure throughout the country resulted in the
prioritization of six key bridges that need immediate repair in order to facilitate further relief
efforts and re-establish lines of communication. These maps show the top six priorities. This
joint effort also identified a number of other infrastructure problems in Public Works related
L . -r ** i'
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you, Admiral, and thank you for your good
As you can probably hear, we are in the midst of some votes on
the floor. I am going to let Congressman Meeks give a brief state-
ment, and then we will recess until 10 minutes after the end of the
vote, at which time we will ask our panelists some questions. Mr.
Mr. MEEKS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank all of you for your
testimony today, as the earlier panel.
"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot
save the few who are rich." That was a statement or quote by John
F. Kennedy, and while President Kennedy's words were in ref-
erence to the U.S. treatment of its own citizens, I believe that the
same is true for U.S. treatment of its poorest neighbors.
If we allow disaster and chaos to prevail in our own back yard,
we are simply waiting for it to fester until it reaches our front door.
Haiti is in crises right now after the effects of recent hurricanes.
More than ever, it needs U.S. resources. According to the Haitian
Government, at least $400 million in funds are needed to help
Haiti recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Gustav
and further complicated by flooding from Hurricane Ike.
The U.S. pledge of approximately $30 million is simply inad-
equate. Last week, this committee passed a bill to provide $1 bil-
lion of assistance to Georgia in its time of needs, $1 billion for
nearly 5 million people in Georgia, a United States ally who de-
serves help. But with approximately 9 million people, 9 million citi-
zens, of Haiti, they deserve parity in our assistance, too.
With every day that we wait, we risk more lives. Hundreds have
already perished in subhuman conditions. The international com-
munity is watching. All of us are watching. We have to do more.
I thank the lady and gentleman that are here and my colleagues
that testified before. We just have to come together. There is just
no way, in the year 2008, we can allow individuals to be, and to
continue to be, living in the conditions that they are living in in
Haiti. You know, it is just incredible to me. We have to give more.
We have to do more. I will be back to ask questions. Thank you,
Mr. ENGEL. Okay. We will let that be the last word until we fin-
ish the votes, at which time we will reconvene 10 minutes after-
wards. So the subcommittee is in recess.
[Whereupon, a short recess was taken.]
Mr. ENGEL. Okay. The hearing will reconvene. I thank our wit-
nesses for their patience, and let me start with the questions. Let
me start with Ms. Madison.
You have heard some of our colleagues speak before in the first
panel, and a number of them mentioned TPS, Temporary Protec-
tive Status. As you know, of course, it is designed to help aliens
in the United States who are temporarily unable to safely return
to their home country because of ongoing armed conflict or an envi-
ronmental disaster or other extraordinary conditions.
I would think that Haiti certainly would qualify for that. If any
situation meets the circumstances, the situation in Haiti certainly
does, yet we have not extended TPS to Haitians in the United
So the question is, why have we not, and are we currently re-
viewing the possibility of designating Haiti for TPS?
Ms. MADISON. The first thing I would like to say, since the issue
came up earlier, was that, in fact, according to the Department of
Homeland Security, while domestic enforcement on Haitian immi-
grants here now has not stopped, they have temporarily suspended
the deportations while they analyze the situation. They would ex-
pect those deportations to continue down the road. They have done
a change in the status on their maritime enforcement. I just want-
ed to relay that, since the issue came up earlier.
In terms of the Temporary Protective Status, of course, the au-
thority on this issue lies with the Secretary of Homeland Security,
who, in consultation with other government agencies in the inter-
agency, can, in fact, make the decision on TPS. And, according to
the Department of Homeland Security, the issue is still under re-
view, and while, of course, the situation in Haiti is dire and will
have to be taken into consideration in this process, there are some
concerns about the consequences of granting TPS, which will have
to be discussed in this process, including the possibility that, in
fact, it will encourage people to depart. Obviously, we do not want
to create a humanitarian disaster on the high seas by shifting our
So, from our perspective, from the perspective of the Department
of State, I, of course, have heard the message loud and clear from
the members of the committee and from your first panel, and we
will take the message back that the Congress is intensely inter-
ested in the question of what our intentions are in this area.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you. Admiral Kernan, it is my understanding,
and you mentioned it, and others have said it, that scores of
bridges were destroyed throughout Haiti in recent storms, and
many have damage, if they were not totally destroyed. The U.S.
military, obviously, has great expertise in emergency road and
bridge construction and repair, from the Navy Seabees to the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers, some of the best construction specialists
today serving in or with our armed forces.
There had been some question about, if we are doing temporary
bridges, can those bridges be sustainable over the long run? What
can the U.S. military do, on an emergency basis or on a more per-
manent level, to repair important washed-out bridges and roads in
Admiral KERNAN. Mr. Chairman, there is resident capability
within the military. The decision of where they want to employ
those capabilities, obviously, is a decision of at a higher level than
me. Those capabilities probably reside in the Seabees; probably re-
side in the Corps of Engineers.
Our mission, in time while we were in Haiti, was, again, to con-
duct the assessments in a collective effort to try and determine
what, in fact, needed to be done with the organic engineers that
were aboard Kearsarge. We only had a limited capability on Kear-
sarge in the humanitarian mission. We were planning to do a num-
ber of small projects, school projects, during that humanitarian
mission that we were conducting in the region.
So the decisions on what capability would be applied from DoD
would, of course, be decided by somebody else, whether they were
available and the priorities and things of that nature.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you. Mr. Cardenas?
Mr. CARDENAS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. If I could just add to
the admiral's comments on the bridges, this is something that is,
indeed, ongoing, in terms of the assessments and the repairs of the
bridges, as we speak. USAID is working with the Government of
Haiti, the World Bank, and other international donor agencies and
countries to get those bridges, at least, temporarily reestablished so
that it could aid in the distribution of the humanitarian supplies.
Drawing from the admiral's earlier testimony, at the bridge at
Ennery, which is up near the Gonaives area up here, MINUSTAH
has a Bailey bridge, which they have asked our help in laying
The other key bridges, from the admiral's testimony, here in the
middle, in the Artibonite area, some traffic has been able to be re-
established on these two bridges.
Down in the southern claw, in this area here, where there are
three smaller bridges, what has happened is, as the members were
saying this morning, that with the collapse of these choke points,
the country has been basically dismembered, and that has hurt the
initial emergency-distribution phase, but, right now, we have, in
working with engineers from the Kearsarge and other participants
on the ground, we have succeeded so far in establishing some abil-
ity for traffic to cross those bridges. They are not permanent solu-
tions, but they have been accomplished in order to help in the re-
distribution of the assistance.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you, Mr. Cardenas. Let me ask you a couple
of other questions. One is about long-term hunger. It is always a
threat in Haiti, especially with children and with very poor people.
Crop failures, droughts, and other causes of food shortages make
Earlier this year, we had an increase in commodity prices of im-
ported food, and that caused a crisis in Haiti, and there were food
riots-we all remember that-and the U.S. responded that time
with $45 million in emergency food aid.
Given the hurricanes, let me ask you this: Has Haiti now entered
a new food crisis, only worse, and how much of the nation's agricul-
tural crops have been lost due to the recent hurricanes and storms,
and what is USAID doing to ensure that nutritious meals are
stored, transported, prepared, and are readily available in Haiti to
meet the needs of the people there?
Mr. CARDENAS. Yes, sir. The Food for Peace program. As you
noted, recently, we have about a $35 million annual program, Food
for Peace program, in Haiti. That was augmented by $45 million
earlier this year, as you noted, due to the spike in food prices. On
top of that, Food for Peace has also met some of the World Food
Right now, today, as we speak, there is sufficient food, as far as
what we will be able to get to maybe 1.5 million, perhaps to rise
to 2 million, people that we can get food to on the ground. The deci-
sive point is going to be about 3 or 4 or 5 months from now because
the stocks are moving in the service of the emergency phase, but
we are going to have to back fill those commodities so that we do
not have a break.
I mentioned the Artibonite Valley, where there is most of the ag-
ricultural production. We have heard that roughly 60 percent of the
crops have been washed away. It is going to take quite a long time
to get back into production. We are going to do that.
As we look downrange a little bit, we are looking at about 4, 5,
6 months down the road, where we have got to make sure that we
have the commodities moving in a sequenced way so that we do not
wind up, again, obligating all of the commodities at this point so
that, when December rolls around, January, those stocks are de-
Mr. ENGEL. Talk to me, please, Mr. Cardenas, about disease out-
breaks, the possibility of a major disease outbreak. There is stand-
ing water, as we saw in the slides. There is a lack of sanitation.
Have we begun seeing disease expand in Haiti since the storms?
What do we see down the line?
Mr. CARDENAS. We have a couple of partners on the ground: Cen-
ters for Disease Control and some of our international partners. On
the broader issue of how to plan for to respond to disease, I would
like to turn the microphone over to Mr. Luu.
Mr. LUU. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. ENGEL. Yes. Could you please identify yourself?
Mr. Luu. Yes. I am Ky Luu. I am the director of the Office of
Foreign Disaster Assistance, OFDA.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you.
Mr. Luu. We do have some very strong partners on the ground
right now that we are providing funding to, for example, the Pan-
American Health Organization. We are looking at funding, and
continuing to fund, World Vision and other NGOs, looking at im-
proving the water-sanitation situation.
With regard to outbreaks, I think that we have been fortunate,
to date, that we have not had a large, waterborne outbreak. That
is still something that we are monitoring very closely.
Access is an issue. Clearly, we have done a very good job, in
terms of being able to establish hubs along the coastal area, but,
as the infrastructure improves, and we are able to get more access
to some of the in-lying areas and are able to go into some of the
shelters, we have seen that there are real issues there, in terms
of diarrheal diseases outbreaks and other potential waterborne dis-
eases. Through partners like PAHO, as I noted before, we are look-
ing to fund to move essential medicines to these temporary shelters
to be able to move medical personnel, both international and local
staff, into these areas.
So that is something that is a concern, and it continues to be a
Mr. ENGEL. Let me ask you this: If we see the start of an out-
break of disease, are we confident that we have the ability to move
rapidly to combat that, to overtake it, so it does not become en-
Mr. Luu. Again, with the in-country assets, whether they are the
medicines or staff, this is very much dependent upon the ability for
us to improve kind of the interior local infrastructure to be able to
move people around. At this stage, as noted in the panel before me,
there continue to be issues with regard to flood waters receding
and other issues, in terms of access due to the mud.
So we are confident that we have the people and the resources
in place, but it will be, again, driven by how quickly we are able
to improve the local roads and bridges to be able to move people
around, to be able to react as quickly as we can.
Mr. ENGEL. Well, let me just say, I think, here, money is also of
the essence as well, and that is why I think my colleagues, very
importantly, mentioned the fact that we need some emergency as-
sistance and why Congresswoman Waters' letter was so important
for us to sign.
Let me ask one final question, and then I will turn it over to my
colleagues, and that is more of a long-term question, and either Ms.
Madison or Mr. C6rdenas can answer it. It is the whole issue of
reforestation. Reforestation, as you know, of the hillsides has been
mentioned as one of the steps that we can take to help in preparing
for the next crisis. Reforestation would help to reduce the scale of
flooding, obviously, in the event of another storm.
Let me ask, what kind of food crops can be used for this reforest-
ation, given the local conditions in Haiti? Are there certain crops
that might be more affected than others, and what are we looking
at, in terms of a time period for these programs to take effect?
I mentioned before that the Haitian Ambassador was in the
room, and he has said many times that the major reason tropical
storms have been so devastating in Haiti is the country's massive
deforestation. So I would like to also ask if you agree with that as-
sessment, and what assistance efforts have the U.S. undertaken in
recent years to help in reforestation efforts, and how effective has
it been? All of those questions, and should there be an emergency
program, beginning right now, to reforest the hillsides to prevent
Let me throw in one last thing because we have discussed this
in previous hearings. What about the potential use of jatropha,
which is a plant that can produce oil for bio-diesel as well, to com-
bat deforestation in Haiti? Any of those things. Perhaps we will
start with you, Mr. C6rdenas.
Mr. CARDENAS. Yes, Mr. Chairman. In all candor, the issue of
forestation in Haiti has been one that has vexed our agency for
many, many years. We have tried various programs. Unfortunately,
planting trees; we could not keep up the pace by which they were
being cut down.
We tried sort of a twist on that by planting trees, as you alluded
to, planting trees that have value, in and of themselves, that they
produce products to create a disincentive for their removal.
The basic issue it always came down to was that people were so
desperate economically that the removal of the trees for charcoal
and whatnot just proved to be such a huge obstacle to overcome
that our mission in Port-au-Prince decided that since the undercur-
rent to the problem of the deforestation was lack of economic op-
portunity for the Haitians that engage in this activity, the idea was
to get them off the hillsides and get them into economically produc-
tive activity that we could help facilitate.
So that is kind of the new approach that the mission in Port-au-
Prince is taking, is trying to target economic-growth programs in
those areas, again, to pull people off the hillside and get them into
other types of economic sustenance.
It does not mean that we are not attentive to the environmental
threats that those hillsides present. We continue to engage in a lot
of environmental work-soil stabilization, flood control, irrigation-
trying to mitigate the threats that when another tropical storm or
another big storm comes, that, again, the hillside gets washed
away and the flooding, to the extent that we saw on the slides ear-
We are engaging in a lot of that sort of watershed stabilization
and irrigation flooding, but that continues to be a particular, par-
ticular challenge for us in Haiti today.
Mr. ENGEL. I just want to say that we are still looking into this
jatropha plant, but it is my, and correct me if I am wrong, it is my
belief that jatropha has little or no value for charcoal production
when it is chopped down, and that is why we think it is an excel-
lent crop to plant and also could have, as you pointed out, economic
benefit to Haiti as well.
Mr. CARDENAS. Yes, sir. Haiti was designated as one of the coun-
tries, in a partnership we signed with Brazil, to try and use our
collective knowledge on bio-fuels, bio-diesel products. So we will be
investigating precisely that, the possibilities of using jatropha for
bio-diesel, but that program is just really getting started.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you. Ms. Madison, did you have anything to
Ms. MADISON. No, Mr. Chairman.
[Additional information follows:]
WRITTEN RESPONSE RECEIVED FROM MS. KIRSTEN D. MADISON TO QUESTION ASKED
DURING THE HEARING BY THE HONORABLE ELIOT L. ENGEL, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
USAID believes that Jatropha production can be successful when the production
and marketing systems, as well as the end use for the oil, are well understood. The
Agency also believes that there is much potential, as the Chairman points out; to
protect hillsides, mitigate some flood intensity, and most importantly provide liveli-
hood opportunities We agree that Jatropha has significant potential for Haiti's hill-
sides and farmers, and are exploring options for production in Haiti. In doing so,
however, we have to consider several factors including Jatropha oil's economic via-
bility as well as the secondary products of glycerin and nitrogen rich seed cake.
These in fact would provide additional earnings needed to make Haiti's overall mar-
ket chain profitable.
For such a project to have wide-spread and long-term success, it must be imple-
mented in a rational, profit-making business manner. Haitian farmers and workers
tend to make choices that will safeguard their immediate livelihoods since they do
not have sufficient resource reserves to cope with lost or delayed harvests and in-
comes. Commercial business operators are similarly bound in that they too cannot
sustain start-up activities without seeing a prompt return on investment due to in-
sufficient capital reserves and access to credit.
We must be mindful of this logical risk aversion as we introduce alternative crops
and techniques. If we were to encourage wide-spread planting of Jatropha before
having the prerequisite pieces of a viable business model in place, many partici-
pating farmers and processors would run an unacceptable risk of loss. Should they
encounter failure, they would be highly reluctant to try again, even if the business
plan flaws have been resolved.
This being said, we fully support Haitian private sector efforts to establish sus-
tainable and profitable sources, and markets for Jatropha products. Working
through the recently awarded MarChE project, the Jatropha value chain is being
assessed and assistance will be available to interested businesses. Additionally, the
DEED (The Developement Economique pour un Environnement Durable) watershed
project is located in a prime Jatropha growing region, and will be working with pro-
ducers to plan and actualize Jatropha activities such that they will be profitable,
sustainable, and environmentally beneficial.
Mr. ENGEL. All right. Thank you.
One last quick question, and then I am going to turn it over to
Mr. Delahunt, to the admiral: How long do you expect the Kear-
sarge to stay? What do you see the U.S. military's role, in the
weeks and months ahead, and are the U.S. Armed Forces per-
forming logistics operations for all countries and NGOs or just for
the U.S. Government?
Admiral KERNAN. We viewed the end state of our mission when
there was a capability in the country to provide the logistics sup-
port necessary for the critical needs of the Haitian people. That
date is around the 25th or 26th, at this point in time, and that was
a collective decision between-
Mr. ENGEL. The 25th, 26th of September.
Admiral KERNAN. Of September. That is right. The World Food
program and other organizations are actually bringing in heli-
copters and landing craft that will, in fact, reach and exceed the
capacity of what the USS Kearsarge has been able to provide over
the last couple of weeks. The Kearsarge, in fact, and the helicopters
and the boats; we collectively worked in that cluster that I men-
tioned, and we delivered and transported people, organizations,
anything where the priorities were needed.
So we actually supported U.N. organizations and nongovern-
mental organizations in delivering those people to places that were
determined collectively and prioritized by the Haitian Government
where we needed to go.
So we viewed ourselves as just a logistics platform supporting
USAID and OFDA and the Ambassador's contributions.
What we will do after this; again, we will continue on with our
2-month humanitarian-assistance mission. The next work will be in
the Dominican Republic. We are also scheduled to go to a number
of other places in the region. We have gone to Nicaragua. We have
gone to Colombia. So that will all be kind of humanitarian-type as-
What we had on the Kearsarge was that immediate response ca-
pability. We could get there fast. We are organic. We had 1,100
people who did all of the delivery and lifting of the 110-pound bags
So we viewed ourselves as an emergency response in the region,
and now we are moving on to our humanitarian assistance, but we
are not leaving until we are comfortable, and the Ambassador is
comfortable and the other organizations, that the delivery to the
Haitian people is going to be sustained for their immediate needs.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you. Mr. Delahunt?
Mr. DELAHUNT. Admiral, well done, and please convey to your
crew our pride and admiration for their work. You make a signifi-
cant contribution to our efforts, in terms of public diplomacy and
restoring the image of the United States, so well done.
Admiral KERNAN. Thanks very much, sir.
Mr. DELAHUNT. I guess, Mr. Cardenas, do you agree with the ad-
ministrator that-I am quoting here now-that "this will take bil-
lions of dollars; this is not something small"?
Mr. CARDENAS. Objectively speaking, Congressman, yes.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Thank you. In terms of the issue of hunger, the
Haitian Agricultural Minister puts out an estimate of $180 million
and is quoted as having said that the system of agriculture has
been destroyed in Haiti. You reviewed for us your concerns about
this fall. I think we all share those concerns. I think it was Ms.
Madison that talked about the possibility of a revisit of the flotilla
of refugees attempting to flee the country. It would appear that
that could very well be the precipitating cause, as opposed to an
enactment of TPS.
Could you tell us what your recommendation will be to the De-
partment of Homeland Security about TPS? I presume that you
have discussed it internally.
Ms. MADISON. Congressman, I am actually not in a position to
tell you what the-position of the Department of State will be on
Mr. DELAHUNT. Have you discussed it internally?
Ms. MADISON. There have been some preliminary discussions.
Obviously, this is an issue that has come up over and over again,
but, again, I am not in a position, at this time, to tell you what
the recommendation of the Department, as a whole, would be.
Mr. DELAHUNT. I would presume that there is no position, then,
by the Department of State, in terms of its recommendation after
Ms. MADISON. I am sorry, sir. I did not hear you.
Mr. DELAHUNT. I infer from your response to my question that,
as of now, the Department of State has not included concluded
Ms. MADISON. No, sir. As far as I know, we have not.
Mr. DELAHUNT. As far as you know, you have not.
Ms. MADISON. We have not concluded a recommendation, sir.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Okay. Because, again, I do not think TPS nec-
essarily would be the catalyst for the humanitarian crisis that we
witnessed in the 1990s but, rather, this potential-I keep hearing
words like "famine" and "massive hunger," et cetera, et cetera. So
you indicated you would bring back the sentiments of this panel.
Presuming that we are talking about, so far, $30 million, what
is the anticipated contribution by USAID in the Department of
State, given the administrator's position that it is going to cost bil-
lions? Mr. Cardenas?
Mr. CARDENAS. Yes, Mr. Delahunt. The short answer is, we do
not know, at this moment, what we are looking at in an immediate
recovery and rehabilitation phase. We are currently, as you know,
in the emergency phase.
OFDA has mobilized over $30 million, to date, but, at the same
time, as the emergency assistance is getting to Haitians in need,
we are also conducting the assessments. These assessments are
being done by the experts, members of the DART Team, in coordi-
nation with the mission, with the Government of Haiti, with the
international donor community, for example, the World Bank.
Mr. DELAHUNT. What I find perplexing is that the administration
came before this committee, and the President, and announced a
request for the State of Georgia for $1 billion, and yet we are still
in the assessment stage, the emergency stage, as it comes to Haiti.
I think you were here when I made my opening remarks and ex-
pressed my unease about the disparity between what we are capa-
ble of doing for a nation of some 4.5 million people far away, and
yet, for Haiti, we are still talking $30 million. This is unacceptable,
particularly when it was represented to the full committee that the
monies that would be allocated to the first phase of that $1 billion
bailout were monies that were in existence. It was not new monies.
These monies were to be reprogrammed.
I would hope that, from the Western Hemisphere Bureau, if you
have not had this internal discussion, that there would be a new
look at those monies that are being reprogrammed and that Haiti
would be treated similarly as Georgia. Would either one of you care
Mr. CARDENAS. Let me just, if I could, before turning it over to
Deputy Assistant Secretary Madison, is we are moving with all de-
liberate speed on getting those assessment reports back from the
field in as quick a time as possible.
As far as the broader administration position is concerned, Mr.
Delahunt, I have been contacted several times by the NSC asking
about the progress we are making in Haiti. They have asked to be
kept informed every step of the way, and they have asked us to
please prepare recommendations for the recovery and rehabilitation
Last week, there was a high-level meeting at the White House
solely on the topic of Caribbean hurricane disaster relief.
Mr. DELAHUNT. I am pleased to hear that these meetings are
being conducted, and I do not, for a moment, doubt your good in-
tentions. At the same time, it was a matter of hours when the an-
nouncement came vis-a-vis Georgia and the $1 billion.
Everything that we hear from our colleagues, everything that we
hear from representatives of the Government of Haiti, we hear
from our own Ambassador, Ambassador Sanderson, that this is a
disaster of epic proportions, and yet we are hearing $30 million.
What I find disturbing is that we do not seem to have the capacity
to move with the same alacrity regarding Haiti as we do with Geor-
Mr. CARDENAS. I believe that the United States, as you know,
Mr. Delahunt, this is a commitment to Haiti that spans adminis-
Mr. DELAHUNT. I understand it spans administrations, but, you
know, it still does not answer the crux of why there seems to be
the ability to move with dispatch and speed when it comes to a na-
tion in the Caucasus when yet, here in our backyard, we are hav-
ing internal meetings. I guess we have to ratchet is up because I
agree with the administrator that it is billions, and let us get it out
on the table, and let us talk about it.
You have heard the members of the congressional panel that tes-
tified before you that before these reprogrammed monies go to
Georgia, what about Haiti? Haiti always seems to be last in line.
We do not want a humanitarian disaster there. I think we can all
agree with that. I think the initial response has been solid. I think
we, as a government, are to be commended, but we have got to get
Mr. CARDENAS. Understood, sir. The administrator, when she
made that quote, that was actually in the context of her trip down
there last week, and I know that since she has been back, she has
been in touch with the secretary of state and National Security Ad-
viser Steve Hadley on her impressions of the trip, and basically,
again, pressing the opinion that we need to be there for Haiti in
the coming weeks and months. I think we are safe to say that the
United States will be there for Haiti, as they rebuild and recover
from these natural disasters.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Do you care to respond, Ms. Madison?
Ms. MADISON. Georgia takes me well out of my area of responsi-
bility, although I will say that I think that the United States made
a commitment there to address humanitarian needs and facilitate
economic reconstruction and that we believe it was important to a
country facing a threat to its sovereignty and its territorial integ-
I do think, just to echo what Jose Cardenas has said, that the
commitment of the United States to Haiti really has been abun-
dantly clear. It is one of the largest assistance programs, on an on-
Mr. DELAHUNT. I understand that, Madam Secretary. At the
same time, you know, talk is cheap. It is a question of "Where is
the beef?" We can talk and talk and talk, but if we are not walking
the walk-we did not walk the walk when it came to Georgia; we
ran, and we -do not have a long-term relationship, in terms of an
historic relationship, with Georgia as we do with Haiti. You have
heard other members here comment upon our history with Haiti.
I find it unconscionable that we can respond so quickly, in a mat-
ter of hours, that the Vice President goes and makes the announce-
ment there, and we are talking nickels and dimes when it comes
to having to deal with the order of magnitude of the disaster that
has befallen this poor and tragic country.
Mr. CARDENAS. Just to try to finish the point, sir, I make the
point about our commitment because I think that it is important
to understand that we are not walking away from Haiti. We expect
to be right there with Haiti in the reconstruction process.
This week, we are also in New York meeting with the other
international donors. Given the extent of the damage that we see
here, it is going to take not only the U.S. but other international
donors to respond to this, and I think that, you know, one of the
things that is going to have to happen is an internal discussion in
the executive branch with OMB and the other folks who actually
understand and control the budgets to look at what our resources
are and line them up against the assessments and the needs that
are being identified by the Government of Haiti, through our mis-
sion on the ground, through AID and their assessment teams, so
that we do
Mr. DELAHUNT. Ms. Madison, let me suggest to you that, you
know, the Government of Haiti is a very fragile government. Its in-
stitutions are extremely fragile. Whether they have the capacity to
make an accurate assessment, I would suggest, is very much in
We have a moral obligation to move expeditiously and quickly,
and, aside from that, if we want to see a flotilla of refugees coming
from Haiti in a relatively short period of time, we had better move
I yield back, and I thank the chair for the additional time.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you, Mr. Delahunt.
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much. Let me also commend you,
Rear Admiral Kernan, for the great work that the U.S. Naval
Forces, Southern Command, Fourth Fleet, did and the manner in
which your men and women serve in a humanitarian way. It
makes us very proud of the speedy action that you have done.
I, though, wish that other departments could act speedily, too. It
is interesting that Ms. Madison was saying that, well, TPS, after
conferring at the State Department, really have not decided on a
position, I mean, like it did not come up just a week ago. They hav-
ing talking about TPS for a long time, and it just seems that, you
know, when it comes to Haiti, things just get pushed back.
We had this great Third Border Initiative that President Bush
said that he wanted to see because the Caribbean was our third
border, and, you know, you have relationships with your border,
and you try to enhance it. You are in it together. You are brothers
and sisters. You are close by, and we still cannot get the State De-
partment to have a decision. Do you have any idea when they may
bring it up?
Ms. MADISON. I am sorry, sir. Specifically, on TPS?
Mr. PAYNE. Yes.
Ms. MADISON. I do not know. Just to clarify something, if I
might, Congressman, what I was referring to was taking a position
on the question of TPS that has arisen in the aftermath of these
storms. I am not aware that we have actually finished our own in-
ternal discussion on that issue, although I do note, ultimately, the
decision rests with the secretary of Homeland Security.
Mr. PAYNE. Okay. Good. Then I guess we should have them here,
but I do get disturbed. I recall, even when Grenada, several years
ago, was hit, of course, we did much better for Haiti. We did $30
million. I think, Grenada, we offered them $5 million or something
like that. Trinidad, initially, offered, I think, $30 million or $50
million, just a little island state, said that every house was de-
stroyed, and, here, we felt maybe we could squeeze out five, maybe
get up to $10 million, for Grenada in that terrible hurricane.
Now, people have hurricanes all of the time; however, some are
different. They are not all the same, and when every house on Gre-
nada was destroyed, at least the roof was taken off, something was
done, and the epidemic proportion that we could do was $5-10 mil-
lion for that, it was embarrassing, when an island state said, "We
could do maybe four or five times as much as the United States."
The policies always seem to be so slow to come by, and I really
kind of shuddered when I did hear Mr. Cardenas say that there
was a plan with all deliberate speed. Now, I have not heard that
since the 1954 Supreme Court decision said they were going to in-
tegrate schools with all deliberate speed, and, you know, 60 years
later, we still have segregated schools in the United States, by and
So that term, "all deliberate speed," really was something that
was put in by the Supreme Court because they said that we do not
have a timetable; it will just be whenever, if it ever comes and can
work, and all of that. It is sort of ad infinitum.
So I do hope that, you know, we can move with more than "all
deliberate speed" because that means we are not going anywhere,
and I do not know if it is just a term. People listen to terms, and
they see them differently than those of us who have been trying to
get things to work, who find that "all deliberate speed" means that
there is really no solution, and I agree with Mr. Delahunt, as he
leaves, on the Georgia situation, where the $1 billion came up.
I was at that hearing, and, you know, it was something that we
just decided we are going to do, we are going to do it now, we are
going to do it because it is important, it is in our best interests,
and it is something that we feel close to, but when it comes to
Haiti-if we had left Haiti alone, we would just say, "Well, you
know, they messed up themselves, and that is their problem," but
we ran Haiti for the last 100 years. We ran the country. We had
our Marines that collected taxes and stayed in there forever, and
we said Papa Doc was good for us, and Baby Doc was good for us,
and Aristide, we had to knock him out because he was just truly
elected by the people.
So it is not a place that we have had nothing to do with. Much
of the problems that they are having, even the erosion: During
World War II, we insisted that they try to grow rubber trees, and
the Haitian agricultural said, "It won't work. We can't grow rubber
trees here in'Haiti. The soil is not good."
So what did they do? They cut down all of the mahogany, cut
down stuff, and the United States tried to grow rubber trees in
Haiti, and it did not work because the Pacific region was cut off
from the United States in World War II, that was a terrible situa-
tion for our country, and that was what we decided to do in Haiti.
That is when, if you look back in history, that is when the ero-
sion began. That is when we introduced foreign agriculture that
their forests started this erosion. The final thing is that if some-
thing is not done to turn it around, you are going to have an island
of 8 million people that is going to go somewhere because it is
going to be denuded, the topsoil will be gone.
Each year, the amount of topsoil that goes out into the ocean is
unbelievable, and it cannot continue. In another 10 years, there
will be nothing there to grow. So what are you going to do? You
know, 10 million people are not going to be able to sit on a rock,
because that is all that is going to be left.
So, you know, I just hope that we really, at one point, become
serious about Haiti. The same storms that hit the Dominican Re-
public as hit Haiti. As a matter of fact, usually when the get to
Haiti, they are of less volume. They are usually less ferocious, and
if you take a look at the damage, generally, from that same storm
on Haiti, as opposed to the D.R., it is like night and day because
the D.R. has been able to prevent the denuding and prevent all of
these things that Haiti cannot defend itself against.
So I really do not have any question, but, in the same line of Mr.
Delahunt and the panel that came before, I just hope, Mr. Chair-
man, that we can really get some serious kind of situation as it re-
lates to Haiti.
I see Mr. Burton here, so I will just stop, and maybe he has
something to say. Thank you very much.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you, Mr. Payne. As you noted, the ranking
member, Mr. Burton, is here, and I would like to give him the op-
portunity to either make a statement or to ask some questions. Mr.
Mr. BURTON. Well, Mr. Chairman, I apologize for my tardiness.
There is kind of an emergency that is emanating from my office,
and, as a result, I am not going to be able to stay now either, but
I wanted to come down and let you know that I want to work with
you and my colleague down there who is so eloquent to solve or ad-
dress any problems that Haiti has encountered as a result of the
hurricane and other severe problems.
So my staff person is here. She is going to brief me on everything
that is said, and I will look forward to working with you, maybe
even to go back to Haiti and take a hard look at everything that
is going on. So I apologize for my absence, but it is something that
[The prepared statement of Mr. Burton follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE DAN BURTON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF INDIANA
I would like to thank the Chairman for holding today's hearing on the current
disaster relief efforts in Haiti. The U.S. is the largest provider of bilateral foreign
assistance to Haiti and we have held multiple hearings on Haiti in the past two
years, including an appearance by Wyclef Jean who testified in front of this Sub-
committee in March of 2007 regarding his impressive program for Haitian children
that combines schooling, soccer and afterschool study. I would like to welcome those
of you here today to discuss how we can achieve better success in helping Haiti dur-
ing this devastating time.
Haiti is one of the most difficult challenges in our hemisphere. Successive efforts
by our government, other nations and international bodies focused on helping Hai-
tians reach an average living standard have failed, and it is challenging to deter-
mine how to best adjust our method to achieve a greater benefit in the future.
There is very little that remains consistent in Haiti besides turbulence and
change. In the past two years Haiti experienced a change in the presidency, a food
shortage that culminated in the ousting of the Haitian Prime Minister, essentially
paralyzing the government, and a Tropical Storm and Hurricane that ravished the
Throughout such turbulence, international efforts to improve the situation in
Haiti have continued unabated. The United Nations, the U.S. State Department,
USAID, non governmental organizations, foreign governments and private investors
continue to send aid, build roads, schools and homes, and develop investment strate-
gies to provide long term benefits.
The remaining problem, and what I hope we discuss today, is Haiti's ability to
fully absorb the funds and program assets in a way that provides sustainable devel-
opments. In the end, it is the Haitian government, leaders and people who have to
make Haiti the better place we all hope to see it become.
As I said last week at the hearing we held on Foreign Assistance in the Americas,
ensuring that the most effective method is used to distribute foreign aid is not only
beneficial to the nations receiving our donations, but is an obligation we owe to the
hard working American people who provide the government with these funds. And
in these trying times that can not be emphasized enough.
With these important challenges before us, I'd like to thank our distinguished
panelists for being here today, and I look forward to hearing from you on this impor-
Mr. ENGEL. Well, thank you, Mr. Burton. I am sure we will do
that together, the way we have done so many things together.
I want to thank the panel. It was very enlightening. Any follow-
up questions, we will certainly submit to all of you, and I appre-
ciate your coming here to testify. So I will dismiss the second panel
now and call on our third panel, which is one witness, call on him
in a minute.
Okay. For our third panel, let me call up Councilman Mathieu
Eugene, Ph.D., who is a member of the New York City Council,
who has contacted me, and we have spoken a number of times
about the situation in Haiti, and he is also a constituent of Con-
gresswoman Clarke and, in fact, replaced her in the New York City
Council when she was elected to Congress.
So, Dr. Eugene, we are very happy to have you here. I am always
happy to see another friend from New York City. Dr. Eugene rep-
resents a district in the New York City Council from Brooklyn,
New York, and, although I am from the Bronx, we have a lot in
common with our neighbors in Brooklyn, and, Dr. Eugene is, as he
will explain, I am..sure, a native of Haiti and represents a large
community in Brooklyn, New York, of Haitian-Americans. So I be-
lieve he will give us a very interesting perspective on what has
happened in Haiti and the devastation and the impact on the peo-
ple there. Dr. Eugene?
STATEMENT OF MATHIEU EUGENE, PH.D., MEMBER, NEW
YORK CITY COUNCIL
Mr. EUGENE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, and thank you
for the opportunity that you gave me to be allowed to testify before
this most important body. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Mr. Chair, members of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee
for Foreign Affairs, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am Mathieu Eugene,
a New York City Council member, and I am so proud in order to
be able to testify today. I humbly come before you not only as a
council member of the good City of New York representing the 40th
District but also as an American of Haitian descent, with strong
ties to the country of Haiti and the Haitian Diaspora.
Mr. Chairman, few people today can trace their ancestry back to
a physical American nation but, rather, to an American ideal. The
words proclaimed on the Statue of Liberty, "Give me your tired,
your poor, your huddled masses who yearn to breathe free," are
more than just words; they represent the kind of people we in
America aspire to be.
I am proud, Mr. Chairman, to serve in a city which has embraced
diversity, which marks our nation, and has elected representatives
who demonstrate that sentiment. While we are all Americans, we
understand in our hearts that while we were fortunate enough to
make the journey to this wonderful place, there are many who
were left behind. To fully understand, to fully appreciate what has
become of this dream called "America," we are taught never to lose
sight of where we come from and what might have been.
. As Americans, we define our people differently. We do not clas-
sify ourselves as people because of an attachment to a common
place of origin but, rather, a common sense of fairness, justice, and
equity of opportunity. There was a time when America believed in
isolationism, but, with our maturation, now we understand that we
have a moral obligation to share the success of our democratic ex-
periment with those less fortunate.
I am being asked by my Haitian brethren, both here and in
Haiti, to ensure that the American people have a full under-
standing of the seriousness of their current situation. The Haitian
people are proud people, but not too proud to put their families and
loved ones at risk by not asking for the help they need.
The Haitian community has been extremely fortunate to receive
not only kind words but also substantive assistance from many
friends, such as Governor Paterson, Senator Clinton, Senator Schu-
mer, and my longtime friend, Representative Clarke. Let me com-
mend Representative Waters, Representative Weiner; the Congres-
sional Black Caucus under the leadership of Representative Kil-
patrick; and Representative Meek for leading the emergency con-
gressional delegation to survey the damage in Haiti. I would also
like to thank the Representative Rangel for his ongoing commit-
ment and support to Haiti, and all of the Members of the U.S. Con-
gress, the Senate representatives in New York and my colleagues
in the New York City Council who have worked tirelessly in this
Let me tell you that, in New York, we have a very strong coali-
tion made up of elected officials, clergy people, and also community
leaders. We are trying to make a very powerful food drive to send
to Haiti. The governor of New York has opened the Ammo on Bed-
ford Avenue, and we are expecting to have a plan from the govern-
ment to ship the supplies to Haiti.
Yesterday, I met with Haiti's President, Rene Preval, who ex-
plained in detail that the nation's top priority is restoring its basic
infrastructure. President Preval insisted that, "besides food, water,
and medicine, the number one priority is emergency bridges," and
he said, again, "the number two priority is emergency bridges, and
the number three priority is still emergency bridges." While we, in
America, collect food, water, and medical supplies, without the
roads and bridges to transport them to those who need it most, the
situation will continue to deteriorate.
President Preval explained that "the lack of adequate humani-
tarian relief will lead to famine, widespread disease, and a bleak,
long-term future." According to President Preval, this should have
been a time of harvest for the Haitian people, but, unfortunately,
the storms came. Before the series of storms hit, the Haitian people
were waiting to harvest crops which would have helped them
through the food crisis the country was already in. The rice planta-
tions of Artibonite, the country's primary source of rice, were most-
ly destroyed. When the flood receded, it left up to a meter of mud
in some areas, burying food, crops, clothing, livestock, and, most
He also stated that $120 million in agricultural investments were
wiped out by the storms; $100 million in banana profits were lost;
between 500 to 600 people have died; a power plant which gen-
erated one megahertz of power, sufficient to power a large segment
of the country, was destroyed; and 800,000 of Haiti's 8-9 million
have been affected by this series of storms.
Yesterday, I also met with the mayor of Gonaives, Jean-Francois
Adolphe, who stated that, with a population of 300,000 people in
Gonaives, 250,000 are now homeless. Look at the extent of damage
one storm has made in the United States of America this season
in the Gulf Coast, where we had the capacity to evacuate and pre-
pare for the devastating storm. In Haiti, there was no evacuation
capability, no adequate shelter, and they were at the mercy of four
horrific storms. Thousands of women have vaginal infections from
the flood waters.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the consequences will be even worse than
what we have seen if there is not a concerted effort to avert wide-
spread disease and famine in the coming months.
It is of utmost importance for the United States to address the
plight of the Haitian people. Just a few hundred miles off the coast
of Florida, children are literally starving. The lack of quality
healthcare and clean drinking water affects their basic ability to
lead normal life. I am here today to say it loud and clear and for
the record that the 8-9 million people of Haiti need America's help
My colleagues and-I. are calling on the President of the United
States to use his executive authority to grant Haitian nationals
Temporary Protection Status. In the New York City Council, I have
introduced Resolution 1595, which supports H.R. 522 and asks for
Haitian nationals currently here in America to be granted TPS.
It is my hope that the President of the United States will grant
TPS status to the Haitian people.
We hope also that Congress works together to prevent the depor-
tation of people from all countries who have lived within the
United States for years and have become an indispensable part of
the American society. It is painful to see families broken, children
traumatized, and the breakdown of the ability of communities to
function. Now, also, it is important that while waiting for the
President to sign the TPS, we must come together to stop the de-
portation of Haitians because Haiti cannot bear the burden.
I recall that Congressman John Lewis of the good State of Geor-
gia said, on his recent trip to Brooklyn, "We might have all gotten
here on different ships, but we are all in the same boat." Let us
not forget the less fortunate among us. We must work together to
ensure that those who are here can have a part of the American
dream. Let us understand that, as the beneficiaries of the great
American experiment, we must heed the call of the "huddled
masses who yearn to breathe free."
Mr. Chair and members of this distinguished subcommittee,
thank you for this opportunity. It is my hope that, as we work to-
gether, we will help Haiti to overcome this difficult period and be-
come a sustainable nation in the Western Hemisphere. Thank you
very much. God bless you all and bless America.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Eugene follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF MATHIEU EUGENE, PH.D., MEMBER, NEW YORK CITY
Members of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee on Foreign Affairs, Ladies
I am Council Member Mathieu Eugene. Let me thank you for allowing me to tes-
tify before this most important body. I humbly come before you not only as a
Councilmember of the great city of New York representing the 40th District, but
also as an American of Haitian decent, with strong ties to the country of Haiti and
the Haitian Diaspora.
Mr. Chairman, few people today can trace their ancestry back to a physical Amer-
ican nation but rather to an American ideal. The words proclaimed on the statue
of liberty "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses who yearn to breathe
free" are more than just words, they represent the kind of people we in America
aspire to be.
I am proud Mr. Chairman to serve in a city, which has embraced the diversity,
which marks our nation, and has elected representatives, who demonstrate that
sentiment. While we are all Americans, we understand in our hearts that while we
were fortunate enough to make the journey to this wonderful place, there are many
who were left behind. To fully appreciate what has become of this dream called
America, we are taught never to lose sight of where we come from and what might
As Americans, we define our people differently. We do not classify ourselves as
a people because of an attachment to a common place of origin but rather a common
sense of fairness, justice, and equity of opportunity. There was a time when America
believed in isolationism, but with our maturation now we understand that we have
a moral obligation to share the success of our democratic experiment with those less
I am being asked by my Haitian brethren both here and in Haiti to ensure that
the American people have a full understanding of the seriousness of their current
situation. The Haitian people are a proud people, but not too proud to put their fam-
ilies and loved ones at risk by not asking for the help they need.
The Haitian community has been extremely fortunate to receive not only kind
words but also substantive assistance from many friends, such as Governor
Paterson, Senator Clinton, Senator Schumer and my long time friend Representa-
tive Clarke. Let me commend Representative Waters, Representative Weiner; the
Congressional Black Caucus under the leadership of Representative Kilpatrick; and
Representative Meek for leading the emergency congressional delegation to survey
the damage in Haiti. I would also like to thank Representative Rangel for his ongo-
ing commitment and support to Haiti, all the members of the U.S. Congress, the
State Representatives in New York and my colleagues in the New York City Coun-
cil, who have work tirelessly in this effort.
Yesterday I met with Haiti's President Renee Preval who explained in detail that
the Nation's top priority is restoring its basic infrastructure. President Preval in-
sisted that, "besides food, water and medicine the number (1) priority is emergency
bridges, number (2) priority is emergency bridges and number (3) priority is still
emergency bridges". While we, in America collect food, water, and medical supplies,
without the roads and bridges to transport them to those who need it most, the situ-
ation will continue to deteriorate.
President Preval explained that, "the lack of adequate humanitarian relief will
lead to famine, widespread disease, and a bleak long-term future." According to the
President, this should have been a time of harvest for the Haitian people but unfor-
tunately the storms came. Before the series of storms hit, the Haitian people were
waiting to harvest crops, which would have help them through the food crisis the
country was already in. The rice plantations of Latibonite, the country's primary
source of rice, were mostly destroyed. When the floods receded, it left up to a meter
of mud in some areas burying food, crops, clothing, livestock, and most tragically-
He also stated that:
$120 million in agricultural investments were wiped out by the storms
$100 million in banana profits were lost
Between 500-600 people have died nation-wide
A power plant which generated 1 megawatt of power, sufficient to power a
large segment of the country was destroyed
800,000 of Haiti's 8 million have been affected by the series of storms (1 tenth
of Haiti's population)
Yesterday, I also met with the Mayor of Gonaives, Jean-Francois Adolphe who
With a population of 300,000 in Gonaives 250,000 are now homeless.
The floodwaters destroyed the only hospital within the city, swept away and
drowned most of its patients in the process
Look at the extent one storm has had in the United States of America, this season
in the Gulf Coast, where we had the capability to evacuate and prepare for the dev-
In Haiti, there was no evacuation capability, no adequate shelter and they were
at the mercy of four horrific storms.
Thousands of women have vaginal infections from the floodwaters.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the consequences will be even worse than what we have
seen, if there is not a concerted effort to avert widespread disease and famine in
the coming months.
It is of utmost importance for the United States to address the plight of the Hai-
tian people. Just a few hundred miles off the coast of Florida children are literally
starving. The lack of quality health care, cleaning drinking water, affects their basic
ability to live normal lives. I am here today to say it loud and clear, and for the
record, that the 8 million people of Haiti need America's help NOW.
My colleagues and I are calling on the President of the United States to use his
executive authority to grant Haitian Nationals, Temporary Protection Status. In the
New York City Council, I have introduced Resolution 1595, which supports H.R. 522
and asks for Haitian nationals currently here in America to be granted Temporary
It is my hope that the President of the United States will grant Temporary Pro-
tection Status to the Haitian people.
We hope also that Congress works together to prevent the deportation of people
from all countries who have lived within the United States for years and have be-
come an indispensable part'of the American society. It is painful to see families bro-
ken, children traumatized and the break down of the ability of communities to func-
tion. Now also, it is important that while waiting for the President to sign the TPS,
we must come together to stop the deportation of Haitians, because Haiti cannot
bare the burden.
I recall Congressman John Lewis of the great state of Georgia said on his recent
trip to Brooklyn, "We might have all gotten here on different ships but we are all
in the same boat". Let us not forget the less fortunate among us. We must work
together to ensure that those who are here can have a part of the American dream.
Let us understand that as the beneficiaries of this great American experiment, we
must heed the call of the "huddled masses who yearn to breathe free."
Mr. Chairman and members of this distinguished subcommittee, thank you for
this opportunity, it is my hope that as we work together, we will help Haiti to over-
come this difficult period and become a sustainable nation in the western hemi-
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you very much, Councilman. Let me ask you
just a couple of questions, and then I will ask Mr. Payne if he has
got anything to ask.
You heard our congressional colleagues speak before, very elo-
quently, six of them here, who all basically said the same thing,
but talked about a lot of different things. A few mentioned the
TPS, which you have just talked about yourself in full agreement.
Is there anything that any of our congressional Members said in
testimony that you would like to expand or speak on or emphasize,
other than TPS because TPS is certainly important, but is there
something specifically that some of our colleagues said that,
through your experience and your contacts with people back in
Haiti, you would like to emphasize?
Mr. EUGENE. Yes. I would like to make some comments about
the deforestation. The deforestation, I believe, is a cause of the eco-
nomic situation of the country.
Because of the lack of electricity, the people do not have the tech-
nology or the structure of what they need to fulfill the basic need,
like cooking food. They have to cut the trees to cook the food, and
also the charcoal that they use, they make some money from that.
It is an economic opportunity.
I believe we should think also about creating some job opportuni-
ties in the country, giving to the people the opportunity to be self-
sufficient and to prevent them to cut the trees, and, as we know,
cutting trees is very important. But if we think only about cutting
trees, this is not going to resolve the situation.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you. I am glad that, even though we did not
coordinate it, I am glad that you mentioned the issue because it is
an issue that I raised that I feel very strongly about, and I think
that, long term, we really need to find a solution for it.
Let me ask you one final question. You mentioned, in your testi-
mony, that if we did not repair the bridges, or have temporary
bridges, that we will not be able to distribute the food. Is it your
understanding that a number of the bridges that are needed to dis-
tribute food to the outlying areas have been repaired, even on a
temporary basis, or is there still much work to be done?
Mr. EUGENE. There is still much work to be done. I met with
President Preval yesterday, and he said that clearly. I asked him,
"What is priority number one for Haiti right now?" He said, "Pri-
ority number one, besides food, water, and medicine, is emergency
bridges," and he said again, "priority number two is emergency
bridges," and he kept on going until priority number seven is also
emergency bridges because he said that there is no way to commu-
nicate from one part of the country to the other part. Even if we
have food, we have water, we have medicine, there is no way to
bring the food and the medicine and water to the people who need
One of my friends told me that somebody died in Haiti. Do you
know why? Because he was sick, and there is no way to help him
get to the hospital, and he stayed in the house. After he died, they
had to wait about 3 or 4 days to bury him because of no commu-
nication between one part of the country to the other one.
As President Preval said, it is very important that we make an
effort to create or to construct emergency bridges in the different
parts of the country.
Mr. ENGEL. You mentioned that you were working with people
in New York to get a plane to bring food and supplies to Haiti. How
do we ensure that when we bring the food and supplies and medi-
cines to Haiti, it gets to the people who really need it? I know
What assurance do we have that some groups are not going to
seize it, attack it, sell it, whatever, that it really gets to the impov-
erished people that need it? Has that been a problem, in your expe-
rience in the past, and, if so, what are we doing about it?
Mr. EUGENE. Thank you, Mr. Chair. This is a wonderful question
and one that raised the concern of all of us: Will people of goodwill
want to help Haiti? The reason that I met with many of the elected
officials in New York and community leaders is we are trying to
build up a coalition, and the reason also that I requested the gov-
ernor of New York to try to secure a plane for us. By sending the
food by plane, the plane will not go to the customs, and we are
working together with the Haitian Government, and I am pleased
to see the Ambassador raise the issue also; we are working to-
What we are doing, when the food gets to Haiti, we have already
contacted many organizations in Haiti, like Catholic Charity Relief,
Red Cross, World Vision, and churches in Haiti, and many local or-
ganizations, in order for them to take the food and bring them ex-
actly to the people in need.
This is a very big concern. We thought about it, and we are
working collectively to try to resolve it because it is not fair, it does
not make sense, and it is not acceptable to see that we are making
so much effort over here and sacrifices, and when the food or the
supplies get to Haiti, the people who are in need do not get it.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you. Mr. Payne?
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you. I will be very brief, but thank you, Coun-
cilman, for bringing that message to us. We will be looking forward
to working with you and others in our state. We have very active
Haitian-American groups also, and working through the Catholic
Church and others. So we will be coordinating with our chairman.
You know, one of the things that we are talking about, as relates
to cooking and the question of reforestation, which has got to go
soon, or we are going to be in trouble, but we are looking at, be-
lieve it or not, in Africa, in Darfur, solar types of cooking utensils,
therefore, not needing any kind of fuel like charcoal, and wood, of
course, in the Darfur region is very scarce also.
So we are introducing this very simple, solar-cooking apparatus,
and that may be something that I would like to talk with some of
your folks to see about introducing it. It is very inexpensive, and
it can actually replace the need for charcoal. So it is something
that I would like to follow up with.
Mr. EUGENE. Thank you very much, Congressman. This is a won-
derful idea. Haiti is a tropical country. That means that we can use
that technology, and that would be very helpful and very useful to
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you very much, Dr. Eugene. We appreciate
your testimony, and I know, when you are organizing things in
New York, in Brooklyn, I know you are going to go to all of the
communities. I want to mention again that I have a very large Hai-
tian-American community in Spring Valley, New York, in Rockland
County, and I hope that you are coordinating things with them. I
know they want to help as well.
Again, we thank you very, very much for your testimony. It cer-
tainly was very, very helpful in giving us a full picture about what
is really going on.
Mr. EUGENE. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you for the oppor-
tunity, and thank you for your leadership and what you are doing
for the Haitian community. Thank you very much.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you, and it is my pleasure.
As you can hear, we are now being called for a vote, and so the
hearing on Haiti is now adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 1:25 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
MATERIAL SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING RECORD
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE ROBERT WEXLER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF FLORIDA, AND CHAIRMAN, SUBCOMMITTEE ON EUROPE
Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank you for holding this hearing to discuss the
growing humanitarian crises in Haiti. It is apparent to anyone who cares deeply
about the health and well-being of our Caribbean neighbor Haiti that they are fac-
ing an unprecedented crisis in the wake of several hurricanes and other natural dis-
First and foremost, I want to offer my sincere condolences to those Haitian fami-
lies who are currently observing three days of mourning for loved ones who perished
during and following the hurricanes. It is critical that the United States stand with
the Haitian people at this difficult time and provide the disaster assistance the Hai-
tian government is seeking.
Like my colleagues from South Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings and Con-
gressman Kendrick Meek who are testifying today, I am privileged to represent a
significant Haitian-American community. I share their grave concerns about the
plight of Haitians and the need for a greater humanitarian and economic response
from the United States and the international community. According to the United
Nations, a staggering one-tenth of the entire Haitian population (800,000 people) is
in immediate need of emergency assistance.
The deadly storms that have hit Haiti have wrought unimaginable destruction,
and this destruction is on top of a food crisis earlier this year and years of political
and economic struggle. With more than 45,000 homes damaged or destroyed, close
to 500 killed, hundreds of thousands internally displace, we are talking about a
tragedy beyond any scale that the Haitian government is capable of managing on
its own. Already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, the extent of the
flooding, damage, displacement and despair in Haiti calls for immediate assistance
from the United States and others.
To that end, I urge the Administration to heed the call of Congress to significantly
increase disaster assistance for Haiti. It is my hope that the Administration will
heed my request and that of my colleagues including Congresswoman Waters to pro-
vide up to $300 million in assistance for Haiti. I also want to join Congressman
Hastings in urging the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service to immediately cease
the deportation of Haitians, and calling for the Administration to provide them
Temporary Protective Status. At a time when Haiti is reeling from death and de-
struction, it is unacceptable that the Administration is deporting Haitians back to
a country that is devastated and unable to care for them.
Chairman Engel, I am certain that today's hearing will shed light on the disas-
trous situation in Haiti and will provide a roadmap to address the many humani-
tarian and economic needs of the Haitian people. The plight of Haiti and its people
deserves greater attention in Washington, and I hope all of my colleagues will join
me in acknowledging the need to increase disaster assistance, provide Temporary
Protective Status to Haitians facing deportation, and help Haiti rebuild its commu-
nities for long-term stability and security.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE ANTHONY WEINER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
HELPING HAITI RECOVER
Mr. Chairman, a few hundred miles from the southern tip of Florida, the people
of Haiti are suffering, and primarily from circumstances outside of their control.
Poverty, hunger and homelessness are widespread. Jobs are scarce and access to
even the most basic medical care is rare.
But on top of these day-to-day challenges, the people of Haiti spent almost the
entire month of August battling storm after storm after storm. Hurricanes Gustav,
Hanna, and Ike as well as tropical storm Fay waged an unrelenting fury of wind
and rain on this calm, tropical island.
The wreckage of these storms is undeniable and absolutely human. More than
150,000 Haitians have been displaced from their homes and communities. More
than 100,000 are living in shelters. Acres of rice, the primary staple of the country,
have been flooded; farming and construction equipment has been destroyed; bridges
and roads wiped out. In all approximately 850,000 Haitians had their lives uprooted
by these storms. And more than 400 people have died. And these are just initial
The United States has a political, economic, and, most importantly, a moral obli-
gation to step forward and help the people of Haiti-not only in the short term, but
into the future.
In the short term, we need to help Haitians without food, medical care, housing,
and basic supplies. I strongly support the $200 million in aid the United States gov-
ernment has provided thus far. These are resources that will go directly to feeding
the hungry, caring for the sick, and housing the homeless.
I also want to praise the individuals and countries who stepped up in a time of
need to contribute millions of dollars to ease this humanitarian crisis.
But as we feed and clothe and house, we also need to think beyond this crisis.
Now is the time to invest resources to help stabilize Haitian economic and political
structure, protect its farms, and employ its people. I proudly join my colleagues in
supporting an emergency appropriation of $100 million for disaster assistance.
These resources will help the Western hemisphere's poorest country rebuild roads,
bridges, and other critical infrastructure. These projects will provide jobs and sta-
bility to a region that has been devastated. This is a smart investment. But more
importantly, it is the right thing to do. Together, we can help Haitian people over-
come these challenging times.
71 o RO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE
BUREAU FOR DEMOCRACY, CONFLICT, AND HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE (DCHA)
OFFICE OF U.S. FOREIGN DISASTER ASSISTANCE (OFDA)
Fact Sheet #8, Fiscal Year(FY) 2008 September 18, 2008
S'nre The lar fact heet was d~red September 17. 20
On September 17, the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (USAID/DART) water. sanitation, and hygiene
(WASH) specialist traveled to Gonah-cs with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention staff to survey the
current situation and prepare for a second visit scheduled to take place during the weekend of September 19.
According to the USAID/DART WASH specialist while water continues to recede in Gonaluves. up to a meter of mud
in several areas continues to hinder access to numerous shelters in Gonaives that hav e \et to be reached b. relief staff.
The total alue of U.S. Govermnent (USG) humanitarian assistance in response to recent storms is nearly $30 million
NUMBERS AT A GLANCE SOURCE
Total Affected Population 850.000 GOH September 15.2008
Dead 423 OCHA Seplember 15, 2008
Missing 5(1 GOH Scptember 11, 2008
IDPs 151.072 GOH September 10. 2008
IDPs in Shelters 111,391 OCHA September 15, 2008
Other Damhouses deroe. GOH September II. 2008
Other Damage ___ 35.125 houses damaged "
FY 2008 HUMANITARIAN FUNDING TO DATE FOR HAITI HURRICANES IN 2008
USAID/OFDA A.sistance ....... .... ............................................. ........$9,800,000
USAID/FFP Assistance ..... ............................ ............ 14,000,00
USAID/Haiti Assistance .............................. ....................................................................................... S5,000,000
DOD Assistance.............................. ...... ............. .................................... 59,000
DHS' Assistance ......................... ................. .....................Amount Forthcoming
Total USG Humanitarian Assistance to Haiti for Hurricanes in 2008 .........-................... ..... $29,459,000
Despite increased transportation assets and improvements in food and relief distribution in mny pans of the country.
multiple relief agencies note that a number of communities remain inaccessible, including areas situated in the
corridor between Gonaives and Cap Haitien. Cote de Fr, Bainct. and Marigot Southeast Department. as well as
Plaisance. L'Asile, Anse a Veau, and Petit Trou de Nippcs, Nippes Department. As humanitarian assessments have
yet to be conducted in these communities, the humanitarian situation remains unclear.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), recent storms have affected approximately 80
percent of the population in Gonalves, representing 240.000 people. To date. 30 percent of Gona'ves remains
inaccessible. IOM staff noted thal while other pars of Haiti may soon begin to transition to the earl? recover phase
of ihe hutmanilarian response, many areas of Gonai'(es require continued crillcal emergency hunanmlanan
According to the U.N World Food Program (WFP). sufficient transportation assets are available to access coastal
areas and stockpile food assistance in Cap Haitien, Port de Paix, Goraives. Jeremie, Les Caves, and Port au Prince.
SCwvemnient of Haiti (GOH)
Sr\" Otice for theCoordination of Humanitarian "fFair(OCH.\)
SIntetllh displaced perals (l)Ps)
'lis amount includes actual assistance prodded aid fui ds allocated for finithcoming aisiotaine as of Seplenler 1 5. 20(8X
Sm I'S Offis ce of Food for Peace (tSATDTFP)
S'his amount doos nol include previous USAID'Il'P conlrinbutiu in response to oilhrr cmer.ncies in I Y 200K.
'U S. Depainel of Defease (lX)D)
I S Depamnen of I[lonelad Seurity (])115)
Hant Stomr-.eptenhber I8, IMa
WFP notes that additional resources required to transport assistance by sea can easily be contracted if necessary.
Howcvcr. damaged and destroyed roads and infrastructure arc hindering access to the interior of the county. WFP
reports that roads may not reopen for at least several weeks.
* Four helicopters provided by WFP are scheduled to begin operations on September 25. which will facilitate the
access to intenor areas.
* According to the USAID/DART. U.S. NaNv teams identified two possible sites in Cote de Fer, five sites in and
around Bainel, and an additional four siles in Belle Anse for future delivenes of emergency reliefsupplies to
* According to OCHA. a total of 1.042 metric tons (MT) of food aid has been distributed as of September 17,
racing more than 245,000 people.
* As of September 17. WFP had distributed 316 MT of food, including 27 MT of high energy biscuits, to nearly
152.000 people in GonaRies, according to OCHA.
* According to OCHA. approximately more than 111,000 IDPs are residing in shelters throughout Haiti. OM reports
that an estimated 50.000 IDPs rdmain in shelters in Gonaives. IOM notes crowding in shelters, with a number of
shelters housing up to 4.000 IDPs.
* OCHA reports that all shelters in Les Caves. South Department. had closed as of September 16 In Nippes
Department, ten shelters remain operational according to OCHA.
* O1M is currently coordinating with GOH officials and relief agencies to define a strategy to improve shelter
* USATD/OFDA is providing funds to IOM to support sheller and selllements activities.
* During a September 16 shelter cluster meeting, TOM noted the need for adequate sanitation in shelters in Gonaises.
While a major disease outbreak has not occurred. IOM reported that diarrhea has affected more than 50 percent of
TDPs in shelters in Gonahies.
* USAID/OFDA has committed more than $400.000 to implementing partner World Vision to support WASH
octi lies, benefiting more Ihan 56,000 people.
USG HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE SUMMARY
* On Septeimber 2. U.S. Ambassador Janet A. Sanderson issued a disaster declaration in response to Hurricane Guslav
and resulting flooding throughout Haiti. In otal, he USATD/DART Is working to program nearly $10 million in
funding from USAID/OFDA for programs to assist disaster-affected populations in Harti
* On September 4, a USAID/OFDA-charterd aircraft aried in Port a Prince, delivering USAID/OFDA emergency
relief supplies including 5.088 h)giene kits, 10.800 ten-liter water containers. and 500 rolls of plastic sheeting. Worth
nearly $335,000 including transport. the supplies were transported to affected areas with assistance from the US.
Coast Guard and implementing partner IOM. On September 11. a second USAID/OFDA-chartered aircraft arrived
wilh 10.200 len-lier water containers, 5.088 hb giene kits. 700 rolls ofplaslic sheeting. and 2 water bladders. valued at
more than $410.000. including transport. This airlift will benefit more than 5.000 families and provide shelter support
for temporary facilities such as child-friendly spaces.
* USAID/OFDA is providing $500,000 to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in response to PAHO's
appeal forfunding to support health activities for individuals affected by Hurricane Gustav and Tropical Storm Hanna.
Tins funding will assist 10.000 people.
* USAID/OFDA is commiuiting $2 million to WFP to augment logistical capacly for delivery or Iumianitarian aid to
* USAID/OFDA has also commiiled $750,000 to implementing partner World Vision to support lie distribution of
emergency relief supplies and WASH acti cities, benefiting nearly 70.000 people.
* USAID/OFDA is also contributing more than $1.5 million to TOM. This assistance will support shelter and
settlements projects as well as humanitarian coordination acti itics
* USAID/OFDA is pmi idmg $500,000 in funding to the American Red Cross for emergency relief supplies and
logistical support Programs supported by this funding will benefit 12.000 people in Haiti's Artibonitc Grand Ansc.
and South East departments.
* On September 7, USAID/OFDA authorized the deployment of a three-person Americas Support Team to Haiti to
supplement die U.N. Disaster Assessment and Coordination team based in Gonai es.
Ha.i' S-trms-.Serhber IJ, 22/M
* USAID/Haiti is working to re-direct $5 million in funds loward food and other assistance lo meet critical needs related
to the growing humanitarian crisis.
* USAID/FFP is providing an additional $7 million in response to the UN. flash appeal. The contribution will enable
WFP and private volunteer organization (PVO) partners to respond to relief and recovery food aid needs in Haiti. To
date. USAID/FFP has contributed a total of $14 million for the U.N flash appeal.
* To date, DOD is providing support worth nearly $660,00 in response to a USAID request for helicopter transport
The contribution does not include fuel cost for the USS Kearsarge.
USG HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO HAITI FOR HURRICANES IN 2008
l.m *- rfO* *i S)T4.pf -.: '. -ANC -
American Red Cross Logistics. Emergency Relief Supplies Anse. and Soullt $500.000
IOM Shelter and Settlements. Coordination Affected Areas $1.506,008
OCHA Logistics Affected Areas $69,996
PAHO Health Affected Areas $500.000
USAID/Haiti Energency Relief Supplies Affected Areas $150,000
Emcrgencc Rclif Aclivitics2 Affected Areas $3,530.882
USAID/Haiti Emergency Relief Supplies. Including Transportalion Affected Areas $749.015
WFP Logistics Affected Areas $2.000.000
World Vision Logistics. WASH Affected Areas $750.000
Administrative Support $44.099
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Ha.t S.ms-Septnher 18. 2.10t
PUBLIC DONATION INFORMATION
* The most effective way people can assist reliefcfforts is by making cash contributions to humanitarian organizations
that art conducting relief operations Information on organizations responding to the humanitarian situation in Latin
America and the Caribbean may be available at wvr.relbefwebi .
* USAID encourages cash donations because they allow aid professionals to procure the exact items needed (often in
the affected region): reduce the burden on scarce resources (such as transportation routes, staff time, warehouse space.
etc): can be transferred ven quickly and without transportation costs: support the economy of tie disaster-stricken
region; and ensure culturally. dietary, and enm ronmentally appropriate assistance.
* More information can be found at:
o USAID: "s ,. usaid.gov-Keyword: Donalions
o The Center for International Disaster Information: wvn,.cidi.org or (703) 276-1914
o infonnalion on relief acti ilies of the humanitarian community can be fomud at s sv, reliefsiveb.int
(SUIID O' bulletins appear on the L'S.UD web site at hlpr,.//A.t sjaid.oU ouur -u himi iathl.m.rian .':stailceli iter isiaslanilc/
DOD USAID/HAITI DHS
r EmSecy i/rteW Attel
at Wwn. Stalton, 6 Mxi
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USG HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO HAITI
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Post Hurricane Hanna/Ike Damage Overview "' USA
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SThe effects of extreme rainfall related to Hurricanes Hanna and Ike cause flooding, destruction and loss of life in Gonaives and other
SPOTj regionsof Haiti. This imagedeady shows the sediment loaded runoff still coloring the water bodies, including the Guf of Gonaives
I MAG E (1) and the Savane Jonc (2). The La Quinte River has deposited significant quantities of sediment outside of is channel (3) and
changed its route to the sea, cutting directly through the city of Gonaives (4). The Savane Jonc has swollen and submerged the
causeway linking to points south (5). Engineers are working to increase the capacity of a detour to handle the increased traffic loads (6).
Produced by the Geographic Intormaion Unit of the Ofice of U.S. Foreign Disasor Assistance under Charer Activations 222 and 223.
Pan American Development Foundation (PADF)
Before'the House Foreign Affairs Committee
Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere
The Hurricanes in Haiti: Disaster and Recovery
September 23, 2008
Summary for the Subcommittee
The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), a non-profit, non-
governmental organization with its headquarters in Washington, D.C., has a 47-year
history of creating economic and social opportunities for the hemisphere's most
disadvantaged people. PADF also acts as the disaster relief arm of the Organization of
American States "(OAS), which is the region's principal multilateral forum for
strengthening democracy, promoting human rights and confronting shared problems.
PADFs unique relationship with the OAS allows for exceptional access to leaders and
organizations in the region and facilitates rapid implementation of technical assistance
and material donations in furtherance of the purposes and principles set out in the OAS
For consideration by the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, PADF would
like to summarize its testimony:
1. The U.S. government, many companies and non-governmental organizations
should be commended for taking quick action to reduce the suffering caused by
these four-in-a-row natural disasters that slammed our Caribbean neighbor.
2. Despite these efforts, the situation in Haiti is dire and will only get worse without
additional and sustained aid by the international community. With the United
States facing a financial crisis, we cannot let institutional and individual donor
fatigue happen. This would result in a man-made catastrophe for Haitians.
3. Without short-term relief and mid-term redevelopment assistance, food riots will
re-emerge and political instability will most likely follow. We need to work as a
team to ensure Haiti's economic livelihood.
4. Watershed management and protection must be among the highest priorities for
Haiti and the international community.
5. Cooperation and collaboration among donors is essential in making a successful
and long-lasting reconstruction.
6. Hurricane season happens every year. Although we are better able to anticipate
these destructive forces, this does not mitigate their effects. We need to prepare
now for next year's natural disasters. Every $1 spent on disaster mitigation saves
7. High-risk areas must be evaluated by all interested parties, classified as to
whether they are suitable for redevelopment and, if not, then those residents
should be relocated to safer locations. We believe in saving people's lives by not
placing them in harm's way.
PADF: A Leader in Hemispheric Development
On behalf of PADF and its Board of Trustees, which is chaired by OAS Secretary
General Josd Miguel Insulza, I would like to thank Subcommittee Chairman Engel and
his colleagues for the opportunity to provide testimony on Haiti the aftermath of four
Prior to joining PADF as the Executive Director in 1999, I served with the U.S.
Agency for International Development (USAID) in Latin America, including as Mission
Director in Ecuador, Peru, Honduras and El Salvador. I am very familiar with the
challenges the professionals at USAID face during natural disasters, as I was in their
seats in similar situations.
In my role as Executive Director, I oversee one of the leading non-governmental
organizations with an exclusive focus on Latin America and the Caribbean. PADF, which
receives grants from USAID, the World Bank and others, has major programs in
Colombia, Haiti, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Central America and other countries.
PADF's work focuses on three key areas:
1. Providing sustainable economic and social opportunities
2. Strengthening individuals, communities and societies in accordance with the
Inter-American Democratic Charter
3. Providing for disaster relief and mitigation
In its current fiscal year, PADF has had a positive impact on more than 4.5 million
people in 17 countries.
Speaking specifically to PADF's role in disaster management in the hemisphere,
PADF's affiliation with the OAS allows it to send relief supplies to affected communities
without paying import duties-which guarantees that more goods arrive to those most in
PADF is also a member and implementation partner of the Inter-American
Disaster Mitigation Network (a mechanism created by the OAS, the Inter-American
Development Bank and the Pan American Health Organization) to ensure institutional
coordination of and information sharing about vulnerability reduction, disaster response,
prevention and reconstruction. PADF's partnership with the American Chambers of
Commerce in Latin America (AACCLA), local chambers and their more than 20,000
members are valuable tools in these endeavors.
In its nearly five decades of work, PADF's disaster management program has
evolved to include more than just post-disaster emergency relief. The program
collaborates with communities, government authorities, non-government organizations,
and the private sector to help countries manage disaster risk through mitigation and
prevention activities before disasters occur, and to recover and rebuild after the
emergency phase is over.
Over 25 Years of Haiti Development Work
Specifically related to Haiti, PADF has been a development leader for more than 25
years. Its priority areas are: Employment generation; Natural disaster reconstruction and
community preparedness; Agricultural development and natural resources management;
Rural and urban community-driven development and civil society strengthening; Anti-
trafficking in persons and human rights protection; and Cross-border cooperation among
Haitian and Dominican NGOs and municipalities.
PADF's overall objective is to help create a more stable economic, social and
physical environment in which Haitians can live a dignified life. PADF's Haiti country
office is in located in Port-au-Prince. Through field offices in Gonaives, Thiotte, Anse a
Pitres, Belle-Anse, Aquin, Torbeck, Belladire, and Cap-Haitien, PADF partners with
Haitian communities, organizations and governments entities throughout the country.
In addition to its ongoing programs in the country, PADF also joined with musician
Wyclef Jean and the Friends of the World Food Program on May 20, 2008, to form a
coalition called "Together for Haiti." It has four elements: Targeted food distribution;
immediate employment creation; micro-enterprise grants; and agricultural development.
After the storms, the Together for Haiti's partners began to collaborate on relief efforts, and
they are seeking $11 million to create new jobs and support agricultural development
targeted towards recovery and rebuilding of the most affected areas.
Current Problems and Coordinated Solutions
As the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti is one of the most
challenging places to work. Prior to the hurricane season, Haiti was already in trouble.
The world's food and energy crises hammered the country, due in part to the fact that it
lacks the economic infrastructure and imports most of its necessities.
Haiti's government was just as shaky as the economy. Food riots in April forced
the resignation of Prime Minister Jacques-Adouard Alexis. President Rend Pr6val worked
for months to find a replacement and was about to form a new government when the
natural disasters struck. Indeed, despite President Pr6val's efforts, another round of food
riots were taking place just as Hurricane Gustav battered the island.
PADF's Board of Trustees Vice Chairman OAS Assistant Secretary General
Albert Ramdin has placed particular emphasis on the political and economic situations in
Haiti. Ambassador Ramdin leads the "Friends of Haiti," which is comprised of OAS
member nations, multinational organizations and NGOs, to explore and resolve in a
holistic manner the problems facing this Caribbean nation.
Ambassador Ramdin traveled to Haiti on September 11 and 12, 2008, to evaluate
the storms damage to the island and the recovery efforts. Ambassador Ramdin who met
with Rend Prdval, Prime Minister Michtle Duvivier Pierre-Louis, the United Nations, the
Tnter-American Development Bank, among others urged the OAS member states to
continue their social and economic support of Haiti. PADF met with Ambassador
Ramdin in Haiti to brief him on PADFs relief efforts to date, which have impacted more
than 450.000 people.
PADF's Response to the Storms
When Hurricane Gustav began to touch Haiti, PADF shifted its Haiti operations
to take on that emergency role. Through its network of local offices, PADF was already
on the scene when that hurricane stuck the southeast coast and severely damaged
communities such as Jacmel, Cayes Jacmel and Margoit.
Joe Felix, a disaster relief specialist with PADF, was in Jacmel when Hurricane
Gustav roared ashore and was a key source of on-the-spot information about the extent of
"I walked 15 kilometers from Jacmel to Cayes Jacmel and Marigot
the day after the hurricane (Gustav), identifying people who
needed help and taking pictures. Trees here and there on the
ground covered with sludge. Rivers flowing inside the cities.
Houses were destroyed or still flooded with more than four, five
feet of water inside. There was no gas, no food, no water."
A week later, Hurricane Ike unleashed its fury on the island, this time hitting the
coastal city of Gonalves. With a field office Gonaives, PADF was propositioned to
provide support and some help. As was the case with the previous storms, PADF worked
with the Haitian government, the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, the U.S.
Southern Command and other U.S. agencies to alleviate some of the pain and suffering.
While the role of the U.S. government and other international organizations
should be commended, I would like to highlight how the private sector stepped in to help
Haiti during this crisis. PADF with Chevron created in 2007 a unique program called the
Disaster Management Emergency Response Program (DMERP). Other private sector -
including Federal Express, Citigroup, Aeropost, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, General
Motors, among others proactively provided funds and a commitment of services in the
event of a natural disaster. When these storms were flooding Haiti, the DMERP was
activated. Here are two examples of how the private sector helped Haitians during
Hurricanes Gustav and Ike:
o Before Hurricane Gustav was even finished thrashing Haiti, part of Chevron's
cash contribution in the DMERP was wired directly to PADF's Haiti country
office in Port-au-Prince, which allowed relief workers to immediately purchase
local food and water that we call "family packs." That fast response helped nearly
13,000 people in Bainet, Bellanse and Cotes de Fer.
o Meanwhile, a complete shelter package (which includes tents, tarps, water
purification tablets, lanterns and more) that was donated by Citi and propositioned
in a warehouse owned by Aeropost was flown from Miami to Haiti by FedEx.
That was sent to support the residents of Cabaret.
The private support goes beyond corporations. For example, working with
musician Wyclef Jean and his foundation Yeld Haiti, PADF was able to channel more
relief to some of the most devastated parts of the country. Through that coordinated
effort, more than 42,000 Haitians received food, water and temporary shelter supported.
Haitians stepped up for Haiti, too. The private sector quickly organized an
international TV and radio Telethon, which was held on September 14, 2008. This
telethon was coordinated by Alliance pour la Gestion des Risques (AGERCA), which
included the support of including Voila, Digciel, the American Chamber of Commerce in
Haiti, Unibank, Sogebank and Rebo Foundation. As much as $300,000 was raised during
the one-day telethon, as well as collections of clothes, shoes and 40,000 pounds of rice.
Separate from the telethon, PADF launched a U.S. campaign to raise awareness of
the plight of Haitians. This included public service announcements, emails, press releases
and more. Individuals are encouraged to visit www.PanAmericanRelief.org for
information and to make donations. People from around the country provide thousands of
dollars in aid for Haiti.
Three members of PADF's Board of Trustees from Haiti Philippe R. Armand,
Reginald Boulous, M.D., and Gladys Coupe played important roles in raising
awareness and funds, as well as providing relief to their fellow Haitians. To date, PADF
and its partners have provided emergency support to more than 450,000 Haitians after the
Taken together, the public and private sector endeavors are impressive and should
be applauded. However, this help does not go far enough to help this already desperate
country. Considering the statistics from the four storms, it is clear that the need is much
greater than the relief that has been provided:
o 425 people are dead
o 170,000 people affected
o 151,000 in temporary shelters.
o 63,000 hectares of arable land under water
o $180 million in estimated losses
First, short-term aid is needed to prevent more misery in the country. Food, water,
temporary shelters and basic tools are needed to keep Haiti from sliding further into the
Second, we must focus on prevention, preparedness and mitigation. The hurricane
season in the Caribbean happens every year from June to November. Forecasters this year
predicted up to 15 storms in the Atlantic and Caribbean, with as many as eight becoming
hurricanes. Since we know that hurricanes will continue to hit Haiti, prevention and
preparedness are keys to the country's future success with big storms. This will require
the will and resources of international lending institutions and aid organizations in order
to be successful.
Third, we must start focusing now on the recovery and reconstruction phases.
This requires serious investment and strong, reliable mechanisms to ensure good
stewardship of the resources. Whole areas must be cleared and repaired to regain normal
life; houses and schools must be rebuilt or rehabilitated; roads and bridges must be
I would like to thank the Chairman of the Subcommittee and his colleagues for
organizing this emergency hearing on Haiti. PADF, along with its counterparts at the
OAS and the private sector, stands committed to moving Haiti forward after these natural
disasters. PADF has been a strong development partner in Haiti with more than 25 years
of delivering results. This work extends to providing on-the-ground results immediately
after disasters, as well as during the recovery, reconstruction and sustainable
development phases so necessary for long-term economic and social development.
I would like to thank the Chairman of the Subcommittee and his colleagues for
organizing this emergency hearing on Haiti. PADF, along with its counterparts at the
OAS and the private sector, stands committed to moving Haiti forward after these natural
disasters. PADF has been a strong development partner in Haiti with more than 25 years
of delivering results. This work extends to providing on-the-ground results immediately
after disasters, as well as during the recovery, reconstruction and sustainable
development phases so necessary for long-term economic and social development.