By MATTHEW WYMANThe Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) The United States Army will buy $5 billion to help rebuild Haiti’s impoverished country, the first step toward the U.S. government’s goal of resuming the construction of a $2 billion national capital.
President Donald Trump announced the funding in a statement Saturday, calling it “a vital investment in the long-term development of the Haitian people and infrastructure.”
It was the first major federal effort to help Haiti since the earthquake in 2010 and comes at a time when U.N. agencies are struggling to assess the damage and rebuild.
The money is expected to be used to help build a highway that connects the Haitian capital with the U-Maine campus of Maine College of Art, which is home to some 2,000 Haitians.
The highway will be used for building the capital’s municipal administration and the port, which was badly damaged during the 2011 earthquake.
Haitian President Michel Martelly announced last month that the country will be formally restarting in 2019, a year after the earthquake.
The $2 million investment is part of the $60 billion World Bank’s “Good Land” initiative to rebuild and improve Haiti’s infrastructure.
The project, announced this year, will be the largest-ever in Haiti’s history.
It was part of a U.s. aid package of $3.4 billion from the United States and the World Bank in the wake of the quake that killed nearly 3,500 Haitians and left millions homeless.
The U.n. has estimated that a total of $2 trillion worth of rebuilding needs are needed in Haiti.
The government of Haiti has been struggling to rebuild after months of severe shortages of food, medicine, water and basic services, including electricity and telephone.
The U.u.s is also struggling to pay for health care and other critical services.