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Home Publications Blogs Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch AP: "Billions For Haiti, A Criticism For Every Dollar"

AP: "Billions For Haiti, A Criticism For Every Dollar"

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Friday, 05 March 2010 17:46
A series of articles today report on the mounting criticism over the relief efforts, focusing on the issue of shelter.

The AP reports that for the billions of dollars that have been committed to Haiti there are still serious flaws in the relief effort:
A half-million homeless received tarps and tents; far more are still waiting under soggy bed sheets in camps that reek of human waste. More than 4.3 million people got emergency food rations; few will be able to feed themselves anytime soon. Medical aid went to thousands, but long-term care isn't even on the horizon.
The AP reports on Haitian Prime Minister Bellerive's concerns that the relief effort has been bypassing the Haitian Government.  Bellerive told the AP "Too many people are raising money without any controls, and don't explain what they're doing with it."

The AP also notes that while millions have been pledged, much of the money goes to businesses in the donor's home country:
USAID paid at least $160 million of its total Haiti-related expenditures to the Defense Department, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, two local U.S. search and rescue teams and, in at least two instances, itself.

Tens of millions more went to U.S.-based aid groups. While much of that bought food and other necessities for Haitians, it often did so from U.S. companies—including highly subsidized rice growers whose products are undercutting local producers, driving them out of business.

One cent of every dollar has gone to the Haitian government.
Speaking on the same topic, IPS reports on a delegation of human rights experts that are preparing to travel to Haiti. The delegation has laid out a set of guidelines to make sure that donors not make the same mistakes that have plaqued Haiti for years. This includes an active effort to include Haitians in the relief and reconstruction process. Monika Kalra Varma, executive director of the RFK Center told IPS:
"But rhetoric and goodwill go only so far. Forging a real partnership with the Haitian people will require a total change in the culture of delivering aid to Haiti. Yet if that kind of partnership is not achieved, we will have more of the failures we have seen for decades."
The groups are stressing the importance of human rights in the relief effort, as well as transparency:
"Donor states should act with full transparency and accountability, making information about their plans and programmes available to all, and should work with the Haitian government to set up public monitoring and reporting mechanisms."
IPS concludes:
Aid to Haiti has been marked by frequent interruptions, particularly in assistance from the U.S., for political and ideological reasons. Within Haiti, massive and continuing government and private corruption has siphoned off large chunks of funding and misdirected money to people who didn't need help.

Development experts say aid to Haiti has been aid to the light-skinned elites of Haiti.

Tags: aid distribution | human rights | rainy season | shelter | usaid

 

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