The report takes a close look at US efforts to rebuild Haiti after the earthquake
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The United States Agency for International Development has built only half of eight major projects aimed at helping Haiti recover from a devastating 2010 earthquake, a federal audit report said Thursday.
The US Government Accountability Office also found that most of the agency’s projects were delayed, scaled back or cost more than planned.
The report is the latest to examine how billions of dollars have been spent to help Haiti after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake, which the Haitian government estimates killed some 300,000 people.
USAID projects to rehabilitate rural roads, expand a power plant at an industrial park, and build a $4.2 million port in northern Haiti have been canceled. In addition, only about 900 of the planned 4,000 apartments were built, given the unexpectedly high costs, the inspection concluded.
“Implementation of overly ambitious plans resulted in delays, cost overruns, narrowed scope, canceled activities and costly redesigns,” the 93-page report said.
According to the report, USAID did not fully or consistently track the results of infrastructure projects.
The agency also failed to analyze the effectiveness of its efforts to develop the Haitian National Police through training, equipment and technical assistance, the report said. But he added that political instability, violence and civil unrest were hampering efforts to help the police force, which has been overrun by powerful gangs that control more than half of the capital Port-au-Prince.
According to the report, USAID built a $74 million power plant and improved 24 health and public facilities as part of an $89 million health infrastructure program.
The audit also found that USAID improved local tax systems, increased HIV testing and related services, and helped farmers access agricultural markets and negotiate better prices for their produce through the mobile communication system.
In total, USAID spent $2 billion to help rebuild and develop Haiti in fiscal years 2010-2020, the audit said.
“These activities have been critical in supporting Haiti after a series of devastating disasters and setbacks, but their effectiveness is not fully understood,” the report said.
USAID said it has taken steps to make improvements, including awarding a new contract to collect and analyze data to examine current and past efforts.
The office of Haiti’s prime minister did not return a message seeking comment on the report’s findings.
Haiti is still recovering from the 2010 earthquake and the August 2021 magnitude 7.2 quake that killed more than 2,200 people and damaged more than 130,000 buildings.