Foreign Donors Must Coordinate More With Haiti’s Government, Haitian Prime Minister Says

Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive “demanded more information on Wednesday about foreign aid pouring into the earthquake-stricken country and urged that his government not be sidelined in reconstruction efforts,” Reuters reports.

“Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive decried a lack of coordination by aid donors with his government but stopped short of saying all bilateral aid should be funneled through the government. ‘We don’t know who has given money to NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) and how much money have they given. … At the moment, we can’t do any coordination or have any coherent policies for giving to the population,’ Bellerive told a news conference,” Reuters writes. The news service notes that aid to Haiti is “sensitive for international donors who considered corruption a major problem” before the January earthquake.

Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, just visited Haiti to meet with Haitian leaders to discuss the “long-term plan” ahead of a donor conference in New York this month. She said, “There is a capacity problem that has been exacerbated by this earthquake. … One of the issues that all governments have to tackle is making sure there is a system in place to ensure that the aid reaches the people it’s intended for. We will work with them (the government) to try and make sure that that happens” (Bigg, 3/3).

In related news, the Associated Press/New York Times looks at two of the major approaches to aid for Haiti. According to the news service, “Haiti has two relief campaigns under way: a massive, lumbering international operation comprising U.N. agencies, foreign military and hundreds of private aid organizations; and the collective efforts of individuals acting on their own in frustration at what they see as shortcomings in the international response.”

“The do-it-yourself aid workers say the bigger operation is inefficient and confused, and brag about their ability to get things done quickly, on the cheap. Officials with governments and more established relief groups applaud the smaller operations, but say such efforts will never be enough to meet Haiti’s enormous needs,” the news service writes. The article examines how this has played out in providing shelter to help homeless earthquake survivors (3/3).

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