Fundamental Challenges of Humanitarian Aid

Today I read an article on the situation in Haiti two years after the devastating earthquake that killed over 300,000 people, injured as many and left one million homeless.

It was frustrating to read how innumerable official and unofficial NGOs struggled and failed to coordinate themselves, to use money efficiently and to free themselves from the obstructive competitiveness that shouldn’t even exist within a common cause.

This was just one aspect of many that went terribly wrong on Haiti’s path to recovery.

Just imagine – at the beginning of 2012 half a million Haitians were still homeless and living in camps where 300 people had to share one toilet – if they were lucky to have one at all.

As a result thousands started dying of Cholera.

Meanwhile the world is forgetting about Haiti and focusing on more recent disasters – as dictated by the media.

On a more positive note – when reading an interesting article on the connection between humanitarian aid, economic development and environmental improvement

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=combining-development-humanitarian-aid-and-climate-change-responses&WT.mc_id=SA_CAT_ENGYSUS_20121011

I was fascinated to read about an ingenious invention: the “Life Straw”!

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=water-filtration-system

This fantastic device apparently kills practically all bacteria and viruses that pass through it.

After reading the article on Haiti I hope there is SOMEONE over there who hears of this and can arrange for at least some of the money that is still available NOT to be wasted.

This post is not meant to be critical of NGOs. Especially having worked for one I know that it is damn hard work where circumstances are always chaotic and one just keeps bumping into one obstacle after the other. Things never go smoothly or as planned.

Establishing a central body and plan like they did in Haiti was a good start I think. I hope they will find a way to really make it work.

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Here is some extensive information on the situation in Haiti if you are interested:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Haiti_earthquake

 

(source http://www.mbc.edu/news/r_detail.php?id=2283)

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