U.S. Colonel Blames Haitian President Preval

By: Fouye - September 9 2008, 1:32 AM

Haitian President Rene Preval could not have done anything to head off the devastation, but he could have eased what will be the country's most extensive recovery process.

According to the U.S. Southern Command, which is responsible for security operations in Central and South American and the Caribbean, funding was approved two years ago for an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and last year for a Disaster Relief Warehouse (DRW) in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince.

Those projects are at a standstill, however, because the Haitian government has not granted Southcom title to the land on which it which the $906,000 facilities are to be built.

A contractor for the EOC has been chosen, and money earmarked to equip the DRW with shelving, pallet jacks, forklifts, a database.

"But without the land title we can't commit the resources," said Southcom Colonel William Costello "It's like buying furniture before you build the house."

Southcom has built many such centers throughout the Caribbean.

When Gustav hit Jamaica last month, that country needed little outside assistance because it already had two DRWs and an EOC in place.

Had President Preval prioritized Southcom's proposal, Haiti could be pulling cots, blankets, food and water from its own warehouse instead of relying on the U.S.S Kearsarge, the International Red Cross, the United Nations and others.

as posted on time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1839710,00.html

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