Failure of Haitian Reconstruction Surfaces After Japan Earthquake S. Lucas

Jean Marie Carre - March 16 2011, 4:57 PM

Failure of Haitian Reconstruction Surfaces Again After Japan Earthquake By Stanley Lucas
March 16, 2011

The failures of the earthquake rebuilding efforts have again surfaced in the wake of the tragic earthquake in Japan.

Last night on the O'Reilly Factor, the issue of the failed efforts to help Haiti rebuild after the earthquake was again hotly debated.

The issue arose in the context of American citizens being asked by celebrities and high-profile political leading to donate money to victims of natural disasters.

O'Reilly contended that the American people always donate generously, but it seems nothing ever happens.

He contended that celebrities and high profile leaders, including Presidents Clinton and Bush, "grand stand" and ask people to donate money to help out the victims, but they never track the money and they never follow up. He said that Clinton will not respond to any questions about where the money has gone and will not explain why the progress has been so slow in Haiti.

One minor critique of the debate on O'Reilly was the mention by one of his commentators that government corruption was to blame for slow progress.

This is not the case in Haiti.

The Haitian government has not had the opportunity to squander or steal the earthquake funds because they have received only negligible amounts of funding directly (about $.01 for every dollar).

Haitian government corruption is certainly at the root of all Haiti's problems today, but it has had a minimal impact on reconstruction.

While you may not have the same viewpoint as O'Reilly and you may believe he is partisan, this is irrelevant.

The point is that he has kept this story alive - and he has a massive audience.

Separately, Anthony Bourdain, host of the Travel Channel's "No Reservations" and a prominent chef and author, dedicated one of his shows to Haiti.

He did one of the best pieces I have seen in a long time. He really took the time to listen to the Haitian people and present Haiti's situation in a fair and comprehensive way. I urge you to check out the episode and write a letter of appreciation to him for such responsible reporting.

My only critique was that he only chose to highlight Sean Penn's charity.

Sean Penn is doing great work in Haiti and has demonstrated a moving and genuine commitment to the country.

However, there are many Haitian charities that do excellent work, but have completely been left out of the funding boon that the international charities have experienced.

It would have been nice if he would have mentioned a few of those as well and encouraged donations to Haitian groups.

We all know that part of the problem with foreign aid in Haiti has been the complete failure to build capacity and train Haitians.

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