US Haiti aid, where the money is going

Only 1 cent of each dollar the U.S.
is spending on earthquake relief in Haiti is going in the form of cash to the
Haitian government, according to an Associated Press review of relief efforts.

Less than two weeks after President
Obama announced an initial $100 million for Haiti earthquake relief, U.S. government
spending on the disaster has tripled to $317 million at latest count. That’s
just over $1 each from everyone in the United States.

The AP review of federal budget
spreadsheets, procurement reports and contract databases shows the vast
majority of U.S. funds going to established and tested providers, who are
getting everything from 40-cent pounds of pinto beans to a $3.4 million barge
into the disaster zone.

Of each U.S. taxpayer dollar, 40
cents is going to the U.S. military, paying for security, search and rescue
teams, and the Navy’s hospital ship USNS Comfort.

Another 36 cents funds US AID’s
disaster assistance — everything from $5,000 generators to $35 hygiene kits
with soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste for a family of five.

Just over a dime has already been
spent on food: 122 million pounds of pinto beans, black beans, rice, corn soy
blend and vegetable oil.

Getting the food to Haitians —
paying for freighters, trucks and distribution centres, and the people to staff
them, took another 10.5 cents from each dollar.

Initial disaster spending was aimed
at saving lives; now the spending is shifting to recovery. The Obama
administration wants to put about 1.5 cents of each dollar directly into
Haitian quake survivors’ hands by paying them to work. One programme already in
place describes paying 40,000 Haitians $3 per day for 20 days to clean up
around hospitals and dig latrines. That project also includes renting 10 excavators
and loaders, at $600 each, and 10 dump trucks at $50 a load.

One penny of each dollar is going
straight to the shattered Haitian government, whose president is sleeping in a
tent while struggling to organize an administration that was notoriously
unstable even before the earthquake. A final half-cent funds three Dominican
Republic hospitals near the Haitian border, where refugees have been begging
for help.

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