Haiti Quake: NGOs may not always be helpful on the ground

Failures of aid.

In late 2011, the Red Cross launched a multimillion-dollar project to transform the desperately poor area, which was hit hard by the earthquake that struck Haiti the year before. The main focus of the project — called LAMIKA, an acronym in Creole for “A Better Life in My Neighborhood” — was building hundreds of permanent homes.

Today, not one home has been built in Campeche. Many residents live in shacks made of rusty sheet metal, without access to drinkable water, electricity or basic sanitation. When it rains, their homes flood and residents bail out mud and water.

The Red Cross says it has provided homes to more than 130,000 people. But the actual number of permanent homes the group has built in all of Haiti: six.

Why the failure despite the massive outpouring of donations to the American Red Cross? 
1. an overreliance on foreigners who could not speak local languages (French or Creole)

The Red Cross said it has “made it a priority to hire Haitians” despite lots of competition for local professionals, and that over 90 percent of its staff is Haitian. The charity said it used a local human resources firm to help.

Yet very few Haitians have made it into the group’s top echelons in Haiti, according to five current and former Red Cross staffers as well as staff lists obtained by ProPublica and NPR.

That not only affected the group’s ability to work in Haiti, it was also expensive.

2. the lack of expertise to mount its own projects

…the Red Cross ended up giving much of the money to other groups to do the work. Those groups took out a piece of every dollar to cover overhead and management. Even on the projects done by others, the Red Cross had its own significant expenses – in one case, adding up to a third of the project’s budget.

3. Prioritised publicity over aid?
Malany says the officials wanted to know which projects would generate good publicity, not which projects would provide the most homes.
4. Difficult local conditions (including governance)
“Like many humanitarian organizations responding in Haiti, the American Red Cross met complications in relation to government coordination delays, disputes over land ownership, delays at Haitian customs, challenges finding qualified staff who were in short supply and high demand, and the cholera outbreak, among other challenges,” the charity said.
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Fukushima abandoned – photos

See haunting photos of the aftermath of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, which resulted in the massive tsunami and subsequent nuclear meltdown of the nuclear plants.

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 6.22.37 PM

Source: Keow Wee Loong

From the Telegraph:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/worldnews/11916879/Inside-Fukushimas-nuclear-disaster-exclusion-zone-in-pictures.html?frame=3466256

From the Guardian:
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2016/jul/15/urban-explorers-inside-fukushimas-ghost-towns-in-pictures

The Next Big Earthquake – Bangladesh

A huge earthquake may be building beneath Bangladesh, the most densely populated nation on earth. Scientists say they have new evidence of increasing strain there, where two tectonic plates underlie the world’s largest river delta. They estimate that at least 140 million people in the region could be affected if the boundary ruptures; the destruction could come not only from the direct results of shaking, but changes in the courses of great rivers, and in the level of land already perilously close to sea level.

The newly identified threat is a subduction zone, where one section of earth’s crust, or tectonic plate, is slowly thrusting under another. All of earth’s biggest known earthquakes occur along such zones; these include the Indian Ocean quake and tsunami that killed some 230,000 people in 2004, and the 2011 Tohoku quake and tsunami off Japan, which swept away more than 20,000 and caused the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The findings appear in this week’s issue of Nature Geoscience.

Is the country ready for this quake?

Akhter says that fast-growing, poor Bangladesh is unprepared; no building codes existed before 1993, and even now, shoddy new construction flouts regulations. Past quake damages and deaths are no indicator of what could happen now, he said; population and infrastructure have grown so fast that even fairly moderate events like those of past centuries could be mega-disasters. “Bangladesh is overpopulated everywhere,” he said. “All the natural gas fields, heavy industries and electric power plants are located close to potential earthquakes, and they are likely to be destroyed. In Dhaka, the catastrophic picture will be beyond our imagination, and could even lead to abandonment of the city.”

source: http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news-events/giant-quake-may-lurk-under-bangladesh-and-beyond