Haiti relief and building efforts finally moving forward, says Sean Penn

Washington: Sean Penn who is helping Haiti recover from the devastating earthquake has revealed that relief and building efforts are really starting to happen after an agonizingly slow start.

The Hollywood charity Cinema for Peace honoured - and raised money for -- the Sean Penn-founded J/P Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO) on Saturday.

Many A-listers including George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Orlando Bloom, Julia Roberts, Salma Hayek and Demi Moore showed up for the swanky soiree to celebrate Penn, who was also named Ambassador at Large to Haiti by Foreign Minister Lamothe.

Two years after the country’s devastating earthquake, Penn is still on the ground, and he says he’s determined to keep Haitians in the forefront of our minds.

“Haiti was a country that not only suffered from enormous poverty, and then had this devastating earthquake, but also the earthquake happened at a moment where there was going to be a shift in power. There was an election coming up,” the Penn told Fox News.

“It made it very difficult for the former president to move forward with projects, to have trust in international donors that those projects would continue in an unknown next administration,” he said.

Penn said that after an agonizingly slow start, relief and building efforts are finally moving forward.

“Now the targets are in sight about how to really begin this reconstruction. You have a very decisive leadership and a very decisive people who put that leadership in place,” he said.

“Also there were, in many ways, too many organizations working in Haiti as a reaction on the basis of the emergency. One of the upsides of organizations thinning is that we know who the players are that we can depend on,” the actor stated.

Penn said he doesn’t believe the many millions of dollars donated by Americans following the disaster went to where it was needed.

“In many the ways, (the money) didn’t (get to the right places) for a very long time. The focus on Haiti now is really to guide a lot of that money, but there are a lot of reasons why (it wasn’t used appropriately),” he said.

“It is an important, but much longer conversation, of what those criticisms are. Now the money is starting to come in and projects are really starting to happen. We need a stimulus to that. That is what we are looking for tonight,” he added.

The one-night event raised 5 million dollars for Penn’s Haitian relief organization.


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