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Highlights

On January 12, 2010, a powerful earthquake struck Haiti, resulting in an estimated 230,000 deaths, including more than 16,000 Haitian government personnel, and the destruction of many ministry buildings. In addition to immediate relief efforts, in July 2010, Congress appropriated $1.14 billion in supplemental funds for reconstruction, most of which was provided to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of State (State). USAID and State are administering about $412 million in supplemental and regular fiscal year appropriations for infrastructure construction activities. In May 2011, in response to a congressional mandate, GAO reported on overall U.S. plans for assistance to Haiti. This report addresses infrastructure construction activities, including (1) USAID and State obligations and expenditures; (2) USAID staffing; (3) USAID planning; and (4) potential sustainability challenges USAID faces. GAO reviewed documents and interviewed U.S. officials in Washington, D.C., and Haiti, and visited ongoing and planned construction sites in Haiti..

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
United States Agency for International Development 1. To facilitate USAID's progress in planning and implementing its many post-earthquake infrastructure construction activities in Haiti over the next several years, particularly those requiring key technical staff such as contracting officers, engineers, and program specialists, the USAID Administrator should ensure that U.S. direct-hire staff are placed at the mission within time frames that avoid future staffing gaps or delays.
Closed - Implemented
In comments on the report, USAID said it appreciated GAO's recommendation and acknowledged that staffing difficulties were a factor in delaying USAID infrastructure construction activities in Haiti. During a December 2012 follow-on visit to the USAID mission in Haiti, USAID officials, including the Mission Director, Deputy Director, and Deputy Executive Officer, stated that the mission was close to being fully staffed, having increased direct-hire staff positions filled from 7 of 17 (41 percent) soon after the earthquake to 29 of 36 (81 percent) positions filled as of December 2012. The officials added that they foresaw no future gaps or delays because the USAID mission had received bids and identified qualified personnel to replace direct-hire staff who were departing during the upcoming staff rotation cycle.

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