U.S. Construction Aid for Haiti Tied Up in D.C.

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It has been almost nine months since Haiti was rocked by a devastating earthquake, and the struggling country still has not seen any of the financial support for rebuilding that the U.S. promised.

Meanwhile, more than a million Haitians still live on the streets between piles of rubble.

The $1.15 billion pledge made by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is still tied up in Washington. Government officials say the problem is bureaucracy, disorganization and a lack of urgency.

"There are truly lives at stake, and the idea that folks are spending more time finger-pointing than getting this solved is almost unbelievable," John Simon, a former U.S. ambassador to the African Union who is now with the Center for Global Development, a Washington think tank, told The Associated Press.

The U.S. has already spent more than $1.15 billion on post-quake relief, but without long-term funding, construction of many buildings - including those in Haiti's capital - cannot begin.

"We need to make sure that the needs of the Haitian people are not sacrificed to procedural and bureaucratic impediments," Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry told the AP by e-mail. "As we approach nine months since the earthquake, further delays on any side are unacceptable."

Roughly 50 other nations and organizations also pledged a total of $8.75 billion for reconstruction, but only $686 million of that has reached Haiti so far - less than 15 percent of the total promised for 2010-11.

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