The disaster after Haiti’s disaster

Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN has found something of a scandal in Haiti, where people are struggling to recover from an earthquake earlier this year. He found a warehouse full of undistributed supplies not far from an orphanage where workers are struggling to feed the kids.

(CNN appears to have removed the video for some reason. But trust me, he reported found a warehouse full of supplies going nowhere.)

There’s added danger in these reports, however. They need to be told, but whose warehouse is it? Many relief organizations are doing all they can to help people, but what if people in the states see this report and stop contributing, because they think it’s not reaching its intended destination?

More than likely, this is the Haitian government’s fault. In April, it asked aid groups to stop food distribution, saying the free handouts “were undercutting local markets.” NPR reported today. It took some aid groups to task.


Looking back over the last six months, the lack of transparency by relief groups has caused much of the coordination problems that continue to plague the response,” says Ben Smilowitz, executive director of the Disaster Accountability Project, a nonprofit watchdog group.

This week, the Disaster Accountability Project released a report on the transparency of aid groups working in Haiti.

Criticism of the slow pace of recovery in Haiti is mounting. The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee recently released a report, “Haiti At A Crossroads,” blasting aid groups for not coordinating recovery efforts better. Massachusetts Democrat John Kerry criticized Haiti’s leaders for not making the difficult decisions needed to move forward faster.

Daniel Wordsworth, head of the Minneapolis-based, American Refugee Committee told TPT’s Almanac that a rebuilding effort will take “at least five years.”

The ARC has raised $1.1 million so far and distributed more than $750,000.

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