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VP Biden: US remains committed to rebuilding Haiti

 Father Reginald Jean-Mary embraces Vice President Joe Biden, Monday, April 5, 2010, at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami. Biden met with Hait...
 Vice President Joe Biden arrives at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami, Monday, April 5, 2010. Biden met with Haitian-American leaders to disc...
 Vice President Joe Biden, center, bows his head as Father Reginald Jean-Mary, left, says a prayer before a meeting at the Little Haiti Cultural Cente...
 Vice President Joe Biden, second from left, speaks at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami, Monday, April 5, 2010. Biden met with Haitian-Americ...
 Vice President Joe Biden, right, greets Marlene Bastien, Haitian Women of Miami, center, before a meeting at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miam...

Biden Haiti

Father Reginald Jean-Mary embraces Vice President Joe Biden, Monday, April 5, 2010, at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami. Biden met with Hait...

Biden Haiti

Vice President Joe Biden arrives at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami, Monday, April 5, 2010. Biden met with Haitian-American leaders to disc...

Biden Haiti

Vice President Joe Biden, center, bows his head as Father Reginald Jean-Mary, left, says a prayer before a meeting at the Little Haiti Cultural Cente...

Biden Haiti

Vice President Joe Biden, second from left, speaks at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami, Monday, April 5, 2010. Biden met with Haitian-Americ...

Biden Haiti

Vice President Joe Biden, right, greets Marlene Bastien, Haitian Women of Miami, center, before a meeting at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miam...

Vice President Joe Biden sought to assure Haitian-American leaders Monday that the U.S. remains committed to reconstruction efforts in Haiti.
Their Caribbean homeland may have faded from the news since a magnitude-7 earthquake struck Jan. 12, but the U.S. government will keep its promises to rebuild, Biden said.
"We have no reduced commitment," Biden said. "We will work with all of you to get Haiti back on its feet."
Biden and Paul Weisenfeld, coordinator of the Haiti team for the U.S. Agency for International Development, met with about two-dozen elected officials and community leaders at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami.
Some of the leaders said the meeting was an opportunity to express frustration within the Haitian Diaspora over being excluded from recovery efforts led by the U.S. and Haitian governments, the United Nations and non-governmental organizations.
"The vice president understands that we need to be involved if we are to have an impact," Andre Pierre, mayor of North Miami, said after the meeting. "That has not happened before."
Biden hosted a similar meeting here in January. He said United States' contributions to the recovery effort since then added up to $1 billion in funding for shelter, sanitation, food, medical supplies and other logistics.
The vice president said 1.2 million Haitians now have access to clean water, an improvement of 50 percent over pre-earthquake accessibility. About 21,000 people are employed clearing debris in cash-for-work programs, he said.
"Success will be to get it beyond where it was and on a path it has not been in awhile, to build upon sorrow and loss a new Haiti sustained by a much brighter commitment and a much brighter hope for the days ahead," Biden said.
Some of the Haitian-Americans said after the meeting that they were encouraged to hear that Barack Obama's administration shared their concerns, especially about development in rural areas as hurricane season approaches. After the earthquake, many residents of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, fled to rural villages that lacked the resources to support them.
The leaders also were concerned about 55,000 Haitians whose U.S. visa applications were pending when the earthquake struck. They asked Biden to push U.S. officials to speed up the approval process for those Haitians, so they can join family members in the United States.
"He said he would look into it," said Marleine Bastien, executive director of Haitian Women of Miami.
Last week at a United Nations donor conference, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced an additional pledge of $1.15 billion over the next two years. The U.S. was among nearly 50 international donors who pledged $9.9 billion to help Haiti recover from the earthquake that destroyed its government and commercial center.
Biden and his family had been in Miami to celebrate the Easter holiday.


Updated : 2021-04-19 02:48 GMT+08:00