The head of the United States Agency for International Development was in South Florida to speak to Florida International University students about possible volunteer service with the government organization.
Rajiv Shah stopped by the WLRN-Miami Herald studios and spoke at length about his agency’s work in earthquake-devastated Haiti.
“I’m very confident that Haiti will emerge a stronger and more resilient country."
And he highlighted the difficulties that he says are diminishing, but definitely have impeded progress.
Especially true, he says, when it comes to moving Haitian survivors out of tents and into more permanent housing.
“It’s important to acknowledge the condition before the earthquake,” Shah says. “I have gone and walked through settlements where people are in temporary housing, but their temporary housing conditions are actually better than the communities from which they came.”
Shah also says the length of time it took to stabilize the new Haitian government slowed progress as well.
But, he says, there is tangible evidence of improvement almost three years after the disaster.
“Almost all the rubble is removed. One and a half million people have been moved into sustainable long term housing,” Shah says. “We’ve actually built back housing stocks and buildings in Port-au-Prince to a higher standard of earthquake protection than they’ve been before.”