Closer Coordination With Local Groups Key to Improved Relief Effort

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Wednesday, 03 March 2010 16:22
This is the main message from an evaluation of relief efforts released Tuesday by Refugees International. The report concludes that "By all accounts, the leadership of the humanitarian country team is ineffectual."

The New York Times reports on the assessment, adding:
The report suggests a number of ways to improve the delivery of aid, including allowing more participation by Haitian organizations whose leaders are now living among as many as several million displaced earthquake victims.

While the United Nations does not actively discriminate against such groups, it effectively bars them through a lack of advertising and the system of passes that are needed to attend meetings, Ms. Parry said. Appointing liaison officers dedicated to such groups would help, the report suggests.
A spokeswoman for the UN explained to the Times:
The United Nations has tried not to discriminate between Haitian and international organizations, with local groups accounting for about 15 percent of the groups participating in the effort in Haiti, said Stephanie Bunker, the spokeswoman for the humanitarian aid office. “We would like to increase the balance,” she said.
The report does not solely focus on the UN, but also the US, writing:
Moving forward, the U.S. and UN must quickly improve its efforts for displaced Haitians by connecting with Haitian civil society groups and streamlining bureaucratic processes.
The report reveals an interesting dynamic with regards to USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA):
Foreign Disaster Assistance has contributed approximately $282 million, which represents a third of its FY2010 appropriated budget (before more funding is provided by a likely Congressional supplemental bill). More than $125 million of OFDA’s spending for Haiti went to other U.S. government agencies, including $40 million to the Department of Defense for logistics and relief supplies.
To read the whole report, click here.

Tags: refugees international | relief coordination | UN | usaid