According to the BBC, the relief efforts are more large scale than for any other disaster in history. The UN has asked for $562m in aid monies to help the country over the next 6 months.
People are desperate and dying. The media is assaulting the world with the gory images of bodies and mangled survivors.
What cold-hearted wretches would not see the humanitarian aspect of this disaster, and reach out in whatever way they could, to assist?
What the world neglects, because it’s too accusatory, is the reality of what led to a disaster of this scale. Accountability is thrown out the window with the first picture of an injured or orphaned child on the side of the road.
The fact that Haiti often tops the list as the world’s most corrupt country has not been big news during this crisis. Of course it hasn’t – we are busy trying to save innocent lives, and get the basics of food and water to a desperate population.
But after the dust has settled, will the same people who are gathering the millions to pump into Haiti, be as concerned as to how it’s spent and where it goes?
Will they investigate the fact that, according to seismologists, the death toll in the earthquake will reach figures of over 50,000, “in large part because of corruption and resulting shoddy construction practices in the poor Caribbean nation”. Port au Prince is possibly one of the worst constructed cities on earth. It has been called 'a disaster waiting to happen." And then it did. Who is surprised? Whose responsible?
The relief efforts are being hampered at every turn by the lack of resources, machinery, supplies in the country. People are dying!
When do those in power in a country like Haiti become accountable for the well-being of the people? How can the fact that buildings were put together under corrupt deals, with inferior materials and design, be overlooked?
Would the carnage have been so widespread if the city was properly planned and buildings complied with regulations? The answer is no…
If the same fate had befallen a city in the developed world, would there not be massive legal implications for the building companies, the government? We all know there would.
Why is it, that the world has no expectations from, or respect for the leaders of the developing world? Why is it that aid from outside must flow without reservation into countries where the governments are notorious for their extravagant wealth at the expense of the basic needs of their people?
This issue nags at me. In Africa I’m surrounded by emergencies. Disaster characterizes the daily lives of over half the people on this continent. The governments continue to syphon the lion’s share of the countries’ resources, while the masses live in squalor, without access to healthcare, education, roads, water and electricity.
Why are people looting and shooting and running wild? The people have been desperate and ignored for a long time before the earthquake hit.
An earthquake is only the icing on the crumbling cake of corruption that has ruined so many nations.
An earthquake brings the cameras and heart wrenching stories. It brings out the motherly instinct in all of us.
But it hides and therefore condones the shameful behavior of the people in charge, who, through every corrupt deal, have sealed the fate of so many of the innocents.
And in a few months time when the media has forgotten about Haiti and turned it’s sensationalist eye to another of the world’s new and exciting disaster zones, who will ask where the relief monies have gone? Who will be benefitting? How extravagantly will the presidential palace be rebuilt at the expense of new hospitals, schools and basic housing?
Why would it be handled any differently than it ever has before…
(Photo of Haiti BEFORE the earthquake)