Fact Sheet
Office of the Haiti Special Coordinator
January 8, 2011

The January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti created an estimated 10 million cubic meters of rubble in 30 seconds, which is enough debris to fill dump trucks parked bumper to bumper halfway around the world.

Since the earthquake, the U.S. Government has spent more than $100 million for rubble removal through projects funded by USAID and the Department of Defense. Progress is being made to clear the way for reconstruction;

  • As of December 2010, 1.2 million cubic meters of rubble has been moved.
  • By comparison, it took almost two and a half years to remove 1 million cubic meters of debris following the 2004 tsunami that hit Aceh in Indonesia (World Bank, June 2007).

The U.S. Government is promoting the disposal of the rubble in an environmentally sustainable manner. Together, the Government of Haiti, the U.S. Government, the U.N. Development Program, moved rubble collection and disposal to a public landfill in order to increase the capacity for intake, processing, and storage.

Working in partnership with the people of Haiti

Since the very first day, every major rubble removal decision – from listing priority clearing sites to determining dumping sites – has been made in close coordination with the Government of Haiti. Currently, United States and Haiti are piloting a campaign for people to move rubble out of back lots and inaccessible locations into central bins for easier collection and removal.

Community stabilization through temporary employment removing debris

Instability often arises in the wake of natural disasters, and temporary employment is one of many tactics the U.S. Government is using to promote stability in Haitian communities.

  • Through short-term jobs program, the U.S. Government has cumulatively employed more than 350,000 people, creating more than 3.5 million person days of work.
  • To date, the short-term jobs program has injected nearly $19 million into the local economy.
  • On average, 40 to 50 percent of these jobs are filled by women.

Facing the challenges ahead

The Government and people of Haiti face multiple challenges to successfully clearing the streets of Haiti. Due to the sheer amount of debris produced by the earthquake, rubble removal will take time. However, the U.S. Government is committed to working hand-in-hand with the Government and people of Haiti to complete this essential step to reconstruction.