Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Aid Industry Failed Haiti After its 2010 Quake

Four years and billions of dollars since the devastating earthquake, the impoverished nation stands no better equipped to improve itself. How a new local model might work better.

It’s been just over four years since a devastating earthquake killed more than 100,000 Haitians and left 1.5 million homeless. An estimated 20 to 40 percent of civil servants died in 35 seconds, wiping out the government’s already shaky capacity. Only one government building withstood the 7.0 quake.

In the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, the world prioritized relief and threw money at the suffering. Private donors gave $3.1 billion. The international community pledged around $10 billion and dispersed about $6 billion, the majority on relief.

So much money, so many players, so little progress. Four years later, a complete lack of essential public services and government functionality is the international community’s legacy. Today, about 150,000 men, women, and children still live in the 127 camps that remain, according to the International Organization on Migration. The billions of dollars still haven’t brought running water to most of the country.

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