Haiti, a close neighbor of the US
with over nine million people, was devastated by earthquake on January 12,
2010. Hundreds of thousands were killed
and many more wounded.
The UN estimated international
donors gave Haiti over $1.6 billion in relief aid since the earthquake (about
$155 per Haitian) and over $2 billion in recovery aid (about $173 per Haitian)
over the last two years.
Yet Haiti looks like the earthquake
happened two months ago, not two years. Over half a million people remain
homeless in hundreds of informal camps, most of the tons of debris from destroyed
buildings still lays where it fell, and cholera, a preventable disease, was
introduced into the country and is now an epidemic killing thousands and
sickening hundreds of thousands more.
It turns out that almost none of the
money that the general public thought was going to Haiti actually went directly
to Haiti. The international community
chose to bypass the Haitian people, Haitian non-governmental organizations and
the government of Haiti. Funds were
instead diverted to other governments, international NGOs, and private
Despite this near total lack of
control of the money by Haitians, if history is an indication, it is quite likely
that the failures will ultimately be blamed on the Haitians themselves in a
"blame the victim" reaction.
Haitians ask the same question as
many around the world "Where did the money go?"
Here are seven places where the
earthquake money did and did not go.
The largest single recipient of US earthquake money was the US
government. The same holds true for donations
by other countries.
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