January 26, 2011 - Issue: Vol. 157, No. 11 — Daily Edition112th Congress (2011 - 2012) - 1st Session
SUBMITTED RESOLUTIONS; Congressional Record Vol. 157, No. 11
(Senate - January 26, 2011)
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[Pages S290-S291] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] SUBMITTED RESOLUTIONS ______ SENATE RESOLUTION 26--RECOGNIZING THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE TRAGIC EARTHQUAKE IN HAITI ON JANUARY 12, 2010, HONORING THOSE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN THAT EARTHQUAKE, AND EXPRESSING CONTINUED SOLIDARITY WITH THE HAITIAN PEOPLE Mr. NELSON of Florida (for himself, Mr. Kerry, Mrs. Feinstein, Mrs. Gillibrand, Mr. Casey, Mr. Lautenberg, Mr. Lugar, Mr. Corker, Mr. Menendez, Mr. Rubio, and Ms. Landrieu) submitted the following resolution; which was considered and agreed to: S. Res. 26 Whereas on January 12, 2010, an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale struck the country of Haiti; Whereas, according to the United States Geological Survey, the epicenter of the earthquake was located approximately 15 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti; Whereas, according to the United States Geological Survey, the earthquake was followed by 59 aftershocks of magnitude 4.5 on the Richter scale or greater, with the most severe measuring a magnitude of 6.0 on the Richter scale; Whereas, according to the Government of Haiti, more than 230,000 people died as a result of the earthquake, including 103 citizens of the United States; Whereas an untold number of international aid personnel also died as a result of the earthquake, including more than 100 United Nations personnel; Whereas, according to the United Nations and the International Organization for Migration-- (1) an estimated 3,000,000 people, or nearly \1/3\ of the population of Haiti, have been directly affected by the disaster; and (2) an estimated 1,300,000 people were displaced from their homes to settlements; Whereas casualty numbers and infrastructure damage, including damage to roads, ports, hospitals, and residential dwellings, place the earthquake as the worst cataclysm to hit Haiti in more than 200 years and, proportionally, as one of the worst natural disasters in the world in modern times; Whereas the Post Disaster Needs Assessment, which was conducted by the Government of Haiti, the United Nations, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and other experts, estimates that damage and economic losses totaled $7,800,000,000, which is equal to approximately 120 percent of the gross domestic product of Haiti in 2009; Whereas the Post Disaster Needs Assessment estimates that $11,500,000,000 is needed during the next 3 years for the reconstruction of Haiti and to lay the groundwork for long- term development; Whereas Haiti was the poorest, least developed country in the Western Hemisphere before the January 2010 earthquake, when-- (1) more than 70 percent of Haitians lived on less than $2 per day; and (2) Haiti was ranked of 149th out of 182 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index; Whereas, before the earthquake, Haiti was in the process of recovering from a catastrophic series of hurricanes and tropical storms, food shortages, rising commodity prices, and political instability, but was showing encouraging signs of improvement; Whereas President Barack Obama vowed the ``unwavering support'' of the United States and pledged a ``swift, coordinated and aggressive effort to save lives and support the recovery in Haiti''; Whereas Senate Resolution 392, which was agreed to on January 21, 2010, by unanimous consent-- (1) expressed the profound sympathy and unwavering support of the Senate for the people of Haiti; and (2) urged all nations to commit to assisting the people of Haiti with their long-term needs; Whereas the response to the tragedy from the global community, and especially from the countries of the Western Hemisphere, has been overwhelmingly positive; Whereas the initial emergency response of the men and women of the United States Government, led by the United States Agency for International Development and United States Southern Command, was swift and resolute; Whereas individuals, businesses, and philanthropic organizations throughout the United States and the international community responded to the crisis by supporting Haiti and its people through innovative ways, such as fundraising through text messaging; Whereas more than $2,700,000,000 is estimated to have been raised from private donations in response to the tragedy in Haiti; Whereas the Haitian diaspora community in the United States, which was integral to emergency relief efforts-- (1) has annually contributed significant monetary support to Haiti through remittances; and (2) continues to seek opportunities to partner with the United States Agency for International Development and other Federal agencies to rebuild Haiti; Whereas Haiti continues to suffer from extreme poverty, gross inequality, a deficit of political leadership at all levels, and weak or corrupt state institutions; Whereas significant long-term challenges remain as Haiti works to recover and rebuild; Whereas the International Organization for Migration estimates that approximately 800,000 people remain in spontaneous and organized camps in Haiti; Whereas, according to numerous nongovernmental organizations and United States contractors, the pace of reconstruction in Haiti has lagged significantly behind the original emergency relief phase; Whereas there is an acute need-- (1) to increase local capacity in health care and education; and (2) to focus international attention on employment opportunities, rubble removal, permanent and sustainable shelter, reconstruction of roads, safety and security, and fundamental human rights in Haiti, especially in temporary camps and shelters; Whereas the alleged irregularities and fraud that occurred in the election held in Haiti on November 28, 2010, have imperiled the credibility of the electoral process, undermined the recovery effort, and further destabilized security throughout Haiti; Whereas political leadership is required to ensure that a democratically elected government, which is respected by the people of Haiti and recognized by the international community, is prepared to assume office on February 7, 2011, or shortly thereafter; Whereas, on October 19, 2010, an outbreak of cholera was detected in the lower Artibonite region of Haiti; Whereas initial efforts to contain the epidemic were disrupted by Hurricane Tomas and resulting widespread flooding, which led to the spreading and entrenchment of the disease throughout Haiti; Whereas, according to the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population, between the outbreak in October 2010 and January 21, 2011-- (1) more than 3,850 people have died from cholera in Haiti; and (2) more than 194,000 people in Haiti have been affected by the disease; Whereas, according to the Pan American Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cholera could spread to as many as 400,000 people within the first year of the epidemic, potentially causing 8,000 deaths at the current case fatality rate; Whereas the United States has provided $40,000,000 worth of assistance to combat the cholera epidemic, primarily through the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, to assist with stockpiling health commodities, equipping cholera treatments centers, providing public information, and developing a safe and sustainable water and sanitation system; Whereas the efforts to combat the cholera epidemic have helped to drive the mortality rate from cholera down from 7 percent to 1 percent of all contracted cases during the 3- month period ending on January 21, 2011; Whereas, during the first year following the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the people of Haiti have demonstrated unwavering resilience, dignity, and courage; Whereas at the conference of international donors entitled ``Towards a New Future for Haiti'', which was held on March 31, 2010, 59 donors pledged approximately $5,570,000,000 (including nearly $1,200,000,000 pledged by donors from the United States) to support the Action Plan for National Recovery and Development of the Government of Haiti; Whereas the United Nations Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti estimates that approximately 63 percent of the recovery and development funds pledged for 2010 have been disbursed; and [[Page S291]] Whereas Haiti requires sustained assistance from the United States and the international community in order to confront the ongoing cholera epidemic and promote reconstruction and development: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate-- (1) honors those who lost their lives as a result of the tragic earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010; (2) honors the sacrifices of the men and women of the Government of Haiti, the Government of the United States, the United Nations, and the international community in their responses to those affected by the earthquake; (3) expresses continued solidarity with the people of Haiti as they work to rebuild their neighborhoods, livelihoods, and country; (4) reaffirms the commitment of the Senate to support the long-term reconstruction of Haiti, in partnership with the Government of Haiti and in coordination with other donors; (5) supports the efforts of the Executive Branch to prevent the spread of cholera, treat persons who contract the disease, provide technical assistance to the Haitian Ministry of Public Health, and improve long-term water, sanitation, and health systems; (6) expresses support for the United States Embassy team in Port-au-Prince, members of the United States Coast Guard, United States Armed Forces, other United States Government personnel, and all members of international organizations who have persevered through adverse local conditions and continue to serve Haiti and the Haitian people; (7) supports the continued effort of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, under the leadership of former President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Bellerive, in its efforts to improve coordination, build state capacity, and bring donors and the Government of Haiti together to effectively lead the reconstruction process; (8) urges the international community-- (A) to call on the leaders of Haiti to immediately reach a democratic resolution to the current electoral crisis to enable the newly elected leaders of the Government of Haiti to take office by February 7, 2011, or shortly thereafter; (B) to continue to focus assistance on the priorities of the Government of Haiti; (C) to develop, improve, and scale-up communications and participatory mechanisms to more substantially involve Haitian civil society at all stages of the cholera and post- earthquake responses; and (D) to give priority to programs that protect and involve vulnerable populations, including internally displaced persons, children, and persons with disabilities; (9) urges aid agencies-- (A) to train and use Haitian local and national authorities in the delivery of assistance; and (B) to enhance their coordination and consultation with the Haitian people and key Haitian Government ministries to ensure the effectiveness of aid; and (10) expresses support for-- (A) the continuation of the work of United States agencies, nongovernmental organizations, private volunteer organizations, regional institutions, and United Nations agencies to confront the consequences of the crises affecting Haiti; (B) comprehensive assessments of the long-term needs for confronting the cholera epidemic in Haiti, including the construction of adequate water and sanitation infrastructure; and (C) the continuation of humanitarian and development efforts between the Government of the United States and the Government of Haiti, the Haitian Diaspora, and international actors who support the goal of a better future for Haiti. ____________________