I propose to take Questions Nos. 58 to 60, inclusive, together.
Just over two years have passed since Haiti was struck by one of the most devastating earthquakes in recent history, which killed more than 230,000 people and injured 300,000 others. Given the scale of the death and destruction inflicted, it is perhaps little surprise to learn that the country is still struggling to rebuild and recover.
Indeed, before the earthquake struck in January 2010, Haiti was already facing huge development challenges, with eighty percent of the population living below the poverty line and the worst income inequality indicators in the western hemisphere. Moreover, the country's governing institutions have historically been very weak, with political challenges undermining development for generations. At the same time, the state has long struggled to deliver basic services, economic development, or security to most of its population, not least because of political instability, high levels of corruption, poor public administration and a "brain drain" of talented individuals.
Some slow but steady progress has undoubtedly been made over the past two years, with emergency aid keeping people alive and providing millions more with essential food, medicine, emergency shelter and water and sanitation. At the same time however, half a million Haitians remain displaced and still living in tents and under tarpaulin sheeting. Half of the quake rubble remains where it fell; cholera has become endemic and many Haitians struggle to access basic services.
While the emergency relief effort during the two years after the earthquake should be regarded as a success, a great deal remains to be done in order to meet Haitians' long-term needs. In particular, large-scale investment will continue to be required in order to provide both immediate humanitarian relief and to rebuild housing, revitalize urban planning, reconstitute destroyed communities, develop new communities and create employment opportunities.
In addition, we recognise the longer term challenge of building an effective public administration in Haiti. Government capacity and financial weakness limit the pace at which reconstruction can move ahead. President Michel Martelly's new Government has promised an ambitious programme, including the provision of free primary education, the revival of the disbanded armed forces, and the eradication of corruption. Ireland will continue to support the need for capacity building in our international policy engagement as well as financial support for the reconstruction of Haiti.
Despite the many real achievements, some observers have suggested that the international community has been too slow in delivering the billions of dollars pledged for reconstruction in March 2010.
For our part, we in Ireland have worked hard to meet our own commitments to the people of Haiti. Some 90% — or €11.5 million — of the €13 million pledged at the Haiti Donor Conference in New York in March 2010 has now been committed. We intend to meet our entire pledge during 2012.
As the Deputy will be aware, Irish funding has prioritised the needs of the most vulnerable populations, including women and children as well as the basic humanitarian needs of the population more generally. In this regard, support has been provided to a range of NGOs and UN agencies, including UNICEF, Concern, Goal, Plan, World Vision and Haven for the provision of clean water and sanitation, shelter and housing to the affected population. A total of €1 million was also provided to the Haiti Reconstruction Trust Fund for projects managed by the World Bank in line with priorities agreed with the Haitian authorities, including capacity building.
Since the earthquake, there have also been 18 deployments of the Irish Aid-administered Rapid Response Corps to Haiti to assist in areas such as logistics, engineering and water and sanitation.
Other donors have also responded generously, in Europe and beyond. Since 2010, the European Union (European Commission and Member States combined) has been the largest global donor to Haiti's humanitarian and development needs. The European Commission alone pledged €522 million in assistance, seventy percent of which has already been committed. EU funding is being used not only to address the direct effects of the earthquake, but also to support longer-term reconstruction and development, especially in areas relating to institutional capacity building and support for democracy, including the electoral process and governance.
Of course not all donors have responded so generously or acted upon their original commitments or pledges. We will therefore continue to use all available opportunities in international fora, in Brussels, New York, Geneva and elsewhere, to urge other donors to keep their promises and to provide the kind of long-term, co-ordinated and predictable funding which will be required in order to move Haiti from crisis to recovery.