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Public Policy and Administration


Victoria Landu-Adams


Abstract: The earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12, 2010, caused massive destruction of its capital city Port-au-Prince and its suburbs and killed over a quarter of million people. The recovery period that followed required effectiveness to plan and mobilize resources. The magnitude of the destruction, lack of local recovery plans or previous disaster experience, and scarcity of local resources inspired the creation of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC), a compilation of local and international stakeholders who agreed to collaboratively address the recovery challenges. Several studies have examined post-earthquake recovery initiatives under the leadership of local governments, but having a consortium of local and international donors exclusively managing recovery planning in a post disaster context has yet to be studied. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to enhance understanding of the IHRC’s public policy initiatives used to address recovery challenges. The social capital theory (SCT) was the theoretical framework to guide the study. Interviews were conducted with 31 participants with knowledge of the IHRC operations, performance, and realization. Five main themes emerged from which meanings and conclusions were extracted. Opinions were divided regarding effectiveness of the IHRC. Key findings revealed that some progress was made in terms of addressing recovery needs, but the framework of the IHRC failed to deliver on its key promises. Recommendations include a permanent body in charge of post disaster recovery in Haiti with a clear mandate and strategic paradigm. Disaster administrators may use the findings of this study as a catalyst to improve recovery plans for positive social change.