Saturday, April 03, 2010

Haiti Relief Efforts A Mess

A veteran filmmaker, Lou Angeli, who has recorded rescue and relief efforts from terrorist attacks and natural disasters says that the situation in Haiti is spiraling out of control and is likely to descend into chaos where anything might happen to the fragile political situation in the Haitian capital.

The political situation has largely been responsible for the failure to provide a building code and oversight necessary to build structures capable of resisting earthquakes, and now that fragile government situation is threatening the relief and recovery efforts because hundreds of thousands of people aren't getting basic services and the medical teams in the country are stressed to the limits trying to provide basic care.

Angeli is a veteran filmmaker who has witnessed other disaster areas and has documented rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero and two wars. He declares the disaster in Haiti is especially poignant. Water, food, medicine and diapers remain sorely-needed items in a city ravaged by lack of resources and state-of-the-art equipment required for adequate support and rehabilitation of the country's citizens. He said this,

"Life in Port-Au-Prince is like a scene from a motion picture dealing with Apocalypse. "There is no order whatsoever in the Haitian capital, and it’s just a matter of time before frustration and desperation will lead to all out chaos."

The filmmaker has been in Haiti to debrief cameramen and technical folks on the elements of documenting the crisis.

Angeli declares, in a press release as he makes preparations for the film, "Many of the docs and nurses have mixed emotions about what took place during their stay in Port-Au-Prince." He also says the medical team members are concerned and compassionate toward Haiti's unfortunate, but then adds it seems unlikely order will be restored to such a dangerous and poor nation.
As I warned back in January, the rainy season will pose special challenges given that most people are not in proper shelters and various diseases might spread due to poor sanitation and polluted water sources. We are also on the cusp of the hurricane season, which would be a double whammy should a hurricane cross the already suffering country. It can ill afford another natural disaster, let alone one so soon after the country was hit by one of the worst natural disasters of the past 100 years.

The US is pledging more than $1 billion in aid to the Haiti rebuilding, and more than $5 billion overall has been pledged. I fear that much of the money will be lost to waste and will not go to rebuilding key infrastructure so that the country can begin to recover in a meaningful way.


 


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