Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Why Natural Disasters Cause Unnatural Damage in Haiti

In the interview below, Jonathan Katz, who was a foreign correspondent in Haiti at the time of the 2010 earthquake and the cholera epidemic later caused by the UN, explains what needs to be done better after Hurricane Matthew. He stresses the needs for accountability from international aid organizations and agencies, partnership with the Haitian government, and building systems to prevent such a devastating impact from the next natural disaster.

Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.

Why Haiti wasn’t ready for a hurricane: A Q&A with Jonathan Katz

Jonathan Katz, IRIN News

October 19, 2016

Two weeks after Hurricane Matthew slammed into southern Haiti, the scale of the damage is still becoming horrifyingly apparent. According to the UN, some 1.4 million people are in urgent need of aid and that number is expected to rise, as is the death toll, which now stands at 546. Six years on from the devastating earthquake of 2010 and the billions of dollars in aid that came in its wake, why wasn’t the disaster-prone nation more prepared? IRIN turned to former Haiti correspondent and expert Jonathan Katz for some answers:

Where would you lay most of the blame for the weak preparations for Hurricane Matthew in Haiti: the government, the NGOs, or both?

It’s hard to separate the two, and the problems go a lot deeper than either. Haiti has no real government right now, both in the sense of incredibly weak institutions at the local level, and the fact that there is literally no elected national government, with elections for both the presidency and parliament delayed by more than a year. But a lot of that comes down to the foreign NGOs and the foreign governments and private citizens who sponsor them. The NGOs came into Haiti decades ago expressly with the purpose of supplanting and weakening the government of then dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier. The explicit goal may have faded away, but it is still the effect.

 

 

Click HERE for the full text.

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