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Haiti: Why 2021 is and is not 2010

13 27 10

After the 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, the country was devastated and needed urgent assistance. The calamity killed at least 100,000 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless and millions in need of humanitarian aid. The subsequent reconstruction effort, however, quickly became synonymous with foreign dominance and the failures of humanitarian aid.

“It was like one day, we realised we weren’t here to ‘build back better’. So, we stopped trying or repeating the phrase,” an aid worker told me back in 2014. He was trying to justify why humanitarian organisations in Haiti were pushing $500 rental grants as a “housing solution” for homeless people, when what Haitians were really asking for was a home.

At the time, it did not matter that people had barricaded the entrance of their displacement camp to resist what his organisation was proposing as “solutions”. The Haitian police and UN peacekeepers were there to force their acceptance of the limited aid being offered.

It is now well known that the billions of dollars pledged to Haiti after its devastating earthquake were wasted by a self-serving humanitarian intervention. Most of the $6.4bn for reconstruction landed in the pockets of foreign contractors, UN agencies, the US military and international NGOs. Meanwhile, Haitians saw very little of the money.

The effects have been deadly. In the years after the earthquake, only 3.5 percent of international aid has been allocated to........

© Al Jazeera

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