The earthquake devastation challenges Haiti’s prospects as well as the global state-of-the-art in disaster response, and our quest to coexist with the forces of nature. Haiti has a history of “non-development” with cycles of defiance, betrayal and suppression creating a “nearly” State. Under these circumstances cataclysmic destruction can bring radical change, breaking the impasse of cyclical hope and despair to create “new beginnings”. For Haiti this depends not only on the current humanitarian response, but also on sustained external support and radical change to address entrenched development challenges. » Continue reading “Haiti’s transformative moment”
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Water, food, medicines and shelter are high priorities in any disaster, but “official information” is vital too. In the early weeks after the earthquake in Haiti, external agencies were too busy communicating with themselves to provide information to the affected population.
It was almost two weeks into the disaster before the U.S. military distributed “wind up” radios and broadcast key messages from an air-borne radio transmitter (mainly for dissuading mass exodus to the U.S.). Consistent and authoritative information on who is doing what and by when; or what people affected should do, or how supplies are being distributed; all of these have been poorly handled, leaving room for rumors and false messages to take hold.