Rebuilding Haiti: Billions in Aid Promised at U.N. Event
As world pledges more aid, millions in donations sit unused.
April 1, 2010— -- United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon Wednesday called for more help for Haiti, and the world responded by promising $5.3 billion in aid in the next two years for rebuilding.
Ban called the response "far beyond expectations" of the U.N.'s goal for $3.9 billion in aid. The United States government has promised $1.15 billion in aid.
"We need Haiti to succeed," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at Wednesday's meeting at the United Nations. "What happens there has repercussions far beyond its borders."
Since January's earthquake, Americans have already given $800.9 million in private donations to help the country rebuild. The money has gone to 23 charities that ABC News has been tracking. Only about 37 percent of the money has been spent. Nearly $588 million in donations is still sitting on the sidelines, as millions of Haitians continue to suffer.
Charities say that spending too quickly would risk creating waste and robbing money from the long-term work that must be done. But while they plan for the long-term, there is an immediate crisis.
More than a million people are homeless and a fifth of them still have no shelter, with the rainy season officially starting Friday and the hurricane season just around the corner.
Already, tent cities have been slammed by torrential rains, creating a soggy new layer of misery that has alarmed aid workers.
"The biggest issue that we're facing is simply shelter," one worker said.
"This country still faces a very grave crisis," another said. "A very grave humanitarian situation."