It was two years ago today that a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti.
After seeing image after image of buildings that had collapsed, people from all over the world rushed to send money to the developing nation.
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, according to one source. (CBS tried to get the latest numbers from the UN Special Envoy to Haiti but were unsuccessful.)
Yet, “Haiti looks like the earthquake happened two months ago,” writes Bill Quigley, a professor at Loyola University New Orleans School of Law, in a report.
“It turns out that almost none of the money that the general public thought was going to Haiti actually went directly to Haiti.”
“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,” Quigley goes on to say.
Below is a truncated list of Quigley’s “seven places where the earthquake money did and did not go,” you can read the more thorough list on Quigley’s Z-space page.
- The largest single recipient of US earthquake money was the US government. The same holds true for donations by other countries.
- Only 1 percent of the money went to the Haitian government.
- Extremely little went to Haitian companies or Haitian non-governmental organizations.
- A large percentage of the money went to international aid agencies, and big well connected non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
- Some money went to for profit companies whose business is disasters.
- A fair amount of the pledged money has never been actually put up.
- A lot of the money which was put up has not yet been spent.
Nearly two years after the quake, less than 1 percent of the $412 million in US funds specifically allocated for infrastructure reconstruction activities in Haiti had been spent by USAID and the US State Department and only 12 percent has even been obligated according to a November 2011 report by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO).
Quigley says the effort so far has not been based on a respectful partnership between Haitians and the international community and says a “Haiti First” policy could strengthen public systems, promote accountability, and create jobs and build skills among the Haitian people.