After 9 Months, Only 2% of Haitian Rubble Cleared

Port-au-Prince still looks much the same
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2010 12:23 PM CDT
A man pushes a cart through smoke from trash being burned at a garbage dump in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, Sept. 10, 2010.   (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
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(Newser) – Nine months after Haiti's devastating earthquake, conditions in Port-au-Prince don't seem to have changed much. Rubble is still strewn around the city, among blown-open slabs of sidewalk and teetering half-destroyed buildings. Only about 2% of the 33 million cubic yards of debris strewn about by the disaster has been cleared. "There's not a master plan," a UN official tells the AP.

Though USAID and US defense projects have spent $98.5 million, efforts remain sporadic and uncoordinated—some speak of the need of a "rubble czar" in the Haitian government. The biggest danger is that humans will delay long enough for nature to take over. "What we will leave behind is something that is worse than before," one American contractor who worked in Haiti said. "If you come back in a year, and the rubble hasn't been cleared, it will be grown over, subject to landslides and unstable." (Maybe Wyclef Jean can help? Or not. A recap of Haiti news here.)

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