Can international aid reach the people of Haiti.
International journalists, diplomats, NGO representatives and spokesmen of the Haitian government agreed that the situation in Haiti is chaotic after the earthquake that devastated Port au Prince, whose deaths exceed 50,000 sources, according to the Panamerican Health Organization.
A man looks for a body among hundreds of earthquake victims at the morgue in Port-au-Prince, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010. A 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti Tuesday.
Tens of thousands of Haitians are seeking for help in Port-au-Prince, walking distressed and crying for their dead while their own situation is desperate.. The bodies are visible along the streets of the city, or lie under the rubble.
Meanwhile, thousands of survivors are afraid to return to their flimsy houses without electricity and they prefer to spend hours in open places, where groups sing traditional songs in the darkness and pray for the victims, waiting for God to do something.
Several planes carrying food and trained personnel flew for hours around Port-au-Prince without being able to land due to the problems in the airport runaways, lack of ground light signals, the destruction of the air control tower , the traffic jam due to the thousands of civilians who want to leave, and the many aid packages from different countries that rescuers are trying to get to Port au Prince, having to return to Miami and Santo Domingo.
To try to alleviate the situation, the United States had to take over the airport, but although it began to operate 24 hours per day, the airport is very small and is too damaged to be an efficient solution to the situation, as stated by State Department Spokesman Philip Crowley.
And from the neighboring Dominican Republic the permits to pass the borders into Haiti are slow due to lack of vaccines and safety.
A man makes his way amidst hundreds of lifeless bodies in Port-au-Prince
The world community is doing a lot trying to reach Haitians with food, medicine and technical support, but this aid does not reach to those who are affected, and the people due to the shortage of water, food, lack of health services and growing insecurity, are choosing to do justice by their own hands.
There have been several cases of Haitians who have set up barricades in the streets with corpses in protest over the delay of the international aid.
All this is happening because of the poor organization that is responsible for distributing the international aid and also due to the overstretched lines of communication with the population, that roams looking for sustenance.
A man gestures behind a person trapped in the rubble of a collapsed building in Port-au-Prince
It was reported that yesterday a group of looters broke into a supermarket in the Delmas area, carrying bags of rice, while other draw gasoline from any car that is unguarded.
A UN spokesman reported that stores of the World Food Program have been looted by successive groups of Haitians. “Our stores were looted in Port au Prince. Resupply will be necessary,” said spokeswoman Emilia Casella.
“It’s impossible to find food even with money, there is nothing to buy,” said Liliane Pierre-Pau photographer of Radio Kiskeya, becoming more critical the situation of the most disadvantaged population such as infants, elderly, and sick.
Periodically you can hear gunshots, resulting in more uncertainty and chaos.
Injured Person during Haiti Earthquake
Today, the problem for the success of the humanitarian aid is the lack of effective logistics and security. There is no appropriate organization to be responsible for getting aid to the affected sectors, and no adequate enforcement to ensure that aid operation, such as the police who are engaged in rescuing victims from under the rubble.
In a well said statement of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon “People from all over the world want to help” , but unfortunately the arrival of international humanitarian aid without a proper coordination is not benefiting the local victims of the disaster.
And in the case of humanitarian aid this is a finding that also can be done in other third world countries, were humanitarian aid slowly reaches its final destination , and if not, the aid is lost on the road because of looting –done more or less spontaneously-, or the action of organized gangs who seek to harness the chaos , looking for quick profit.
The bodies of earthquake victims are moved to a truck by a bulldozer
In many Third World countries, the structural weakness of the state and its organizations like the security forces prevented the democratization of the aid. That aid can be reached by the real victims. In this the African continent has a long history.
Isn´t it time that the countries of our continent acknowledge that their own structural inefficiencies do not allow them to reach their people with the international aid?
Do not happen that these losses suffered by international aid donors can make them to disbelieve and restrict their donations due to the uncertainty of what happens to them?
Haitian man carrying an injured child.
Is not it time that supranational organizations, such as the Organization of American States OAS, make emphasis on the need of creating a specific program that provides the foundation in each country to receive and properly distribute international cooperation?
And this applies both to aid in crisis situations and also for international cooperation in more peaceful times.