The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that “more than 3 million people–one in every three Haitians–were severely affected by the earthquake, of whom 2 million need regular food aid. Over 1.1 million people are homeless, many of them still living under sheets and cardboard in makeshift camps. The government of Haiti estimates that at least 300,000 people were injured during the quake.”
The world’s largest multinational charities–CARE, CRS, World Vision and ADRA–execute the political will of institutions, governments and lobbyists that had identified Haiti’s comparative advantage as low wages–i.e. poverty–and in doing so, these charitable organizationdedicated to helping the poorest of the poor wound up working to make the people of Haiti even poorer.
While some NGOs like Partners in Health have done and are doing amazing work to provide services for quake victims, overall, the catastrophe in Haiti revealed the worst aspects of the U.S. government and the NGO aid industry.
The U.S. in fact used its “relief” operation to disguise a military occupation of Haiti, intended to prevent a flood of refugees reaching the U.S., impose even greater sweatshop development on Haiti.
The U.S. is funneling $379 million in aid through its own agencies and then through NGOs. According to the Associated Press: Each American dollar roughly breaks down like this: 42 cents for disaster assistance, 33 cents for U.S. military aid, nine cents for food, nine cents to transport the food, five cents for paying Haitian survivors for recovery efforts, just less than one cent to the Haitian government, and about half a cent to the Dominican Republic.
Title: The Aid Racket
Souece: Socialist Worker, February 24, 2010
Author: Ashley Smith
Faculty evaluator: Peter Philllips Sonoma State University