International aid a challenge in Haiti after the earthquake that killed more than 1,400 – 08/16/2021 – World

In the wake of political and social crises, Haiti has been living since Saturday (14) the routine of, with few teams and crowded hospitals, digging in the rubble, unblocking urban streets and measuring the damage left by the magnitude 7 earthquake. , 2.

The death toll stands at 1,419 and 6,900 injured. About 37,000 houses were destroyed and another 50,000 damaged.

In calculating the losses, Haitians focus on another concern: the role and effectiveness of international humanitarian aid, which is already starting to arrive in the country. The population lives in the shadow of the fruitless experience after the earthquake of January 2010, which killed more than 220,000 people.

The volume of aid that the international community had pledged to invest in the reconstruction of the country at the time was pompous: 47.3 billion reais, in corrected amounts. Six months after the tragedy, only 2% of the sum had arrived in Haiti.

“The aid that arrives as soon as it passes through the state [haitiano] and it goes directly to NGOs linked to the sending country, ”explains João Fernando Finazzi, professor of international relations at PUC Minas Gerais. “There is a hierarchy, in which the governing organizations, located in the neighborhoods, do not receive this money.”

The recovery was slow and the consequences are still being felt today, leading some Haitians to characterize international action to mitigate the impacts of the tragedy as a failure.

A 2012 study by Haiti State University and Tulane University (US) characterizes post-2010 international aid as something that addressed immediate needs, but failed to deliver. resilience in the country and, in some cases, caused damage.

The main problem, according to the document, was that the humanitarian response often undermined the capacity of Haitian individuals and organizations. “Changing the approach would promote self-reliance rather than maintaining dependency status – ‘standard humanitarian aid’,” suggests the study.

“This aid model weakens the Haitian state and generates dependence on the outside community,” explains Finazzi, who is also a researcher in the Study Group on International Conflicts at PUC São Paulo.

Although imperfect, the model has guided international intervention in the Caribbean country for the past three decades. From 1994, when American troops entered Haiti to reinstate ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, until 2017, Haiti lived under the aegis of peacekeeping missions.

The last was the Minustah, a United Nations mission led by Brazil from 2004 to 2017. “With the end of the operation, it is possible to observe that the Haitian management capacity is progressing, but in a very complicated way”, assesses Faap professor of international relations Vanessa Matijascic, who has studied UN operations in Haiti. “There is a challenge for the Haitian government to run the country without outside help.

While the scale of destruction left by Saturday’s earthquake is less than that of 2010, the list of Haitian challenges that humanitarian aid could, in part, help is long.

Worsening the already delicate situation, a violent tropical storm is expected to cross the Caribbean country on Monday (16) or Tuesday (17), with winds of up to 120 km / h. The core of Storm Grace, as it is called, is expected to primarily damage the departments already affected by the earthquake in the southwest.

With heavy rains and structures damaged by the earthquake, more landslides are likely to occur and casualty relief may be hampered. The government has issued an orange storm warning (high risk) and freight transport along the coast and mining activities are suspended.

International aid shipments arrive, but without coordination. On Monday, 15 tons of supplies arrived from Mexico, along with food, water and medicine. A brigade of 253 Cuban doctors who were already residing in the country is helping to treat the wounded.

Under the umbrella of USAID (the United States Agency for International Development), an aircrew helped transport seriously injured Haitians for medical treatment.

Amid the chaos, other challenges also arise, such as that of Covid-19 – the country was the last in Latin America to launch a vaccination campaign. Last Friday (13), only 371 Haitians, out of a population of 11 million, were fully immunized (with either two doses or a single dose of the vaccine).

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