Haiti: “Cash for Work” Program Up and Running

The Haiti earthquake not only collapsed buildings and killed as many as 200,000 people, it also destroyed the already fragile economy around Port-au-Prince.  Now that the search and rescue phase has concluded, the UN is trying to jump-start the cash economy in areas affected by the earthquake.  To that end, the United Nations Development  program launched a “cash for work” program in which Haitians are hired on a day-to-day basis to help clear rubble and clean the streets.  From the UN News Center:

The programme…employs 11,500 people at the legal minimum wage of 150 gourdes, or $4, for half a day’s labour. The plan is to put 100,000 people to work as quickly as possible, with up to 220,000 as conditions allow.

“There are a million Haitians on the streets who lost their homes,” Kim Bolduc, UN Humanitarian Coordinator and the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative, said in a statement released today. “We need to start programmes like that that immediately meet their most critical needs while involving them in the process of reconstruction.”

The project gives priority to female-headed households, particularly those with destroyed housing and those with deceased family members.

Here is some raw footage of the program from the UN’s YouTube page: