Worlddesk

January 15, 2010
Haiti needs a Marshall Plan to recover from earthquake

A man injured by Port-au-Prince’s earthquake observes the Haitian government’s taxation building, reduced to a heap of rubble. Photo: UNPhoto

Visits to Haiti by American television cameras and images of suffering — juxtaposed with dramatic music and fancy logos or sad looks on the faces of U.S. politicians as they extend condolences — are not enough.

Sympathy is not enough.

Response to the earthquake in Haiti must be at a level the world has not seen. It is not clear that the message is getting through. Nor is it clear that Haiti will get what it deserves and needs: a new start and the equivalent of a Marshall Plan, war reparations that create a new reality in Haiti.

Already chaos makes small steps impossible. Correspondents in Port-au-Prince report despair, looting and fear of gangs.

Before the quake, the Haitian government functioned, but only thanks to occasional handouts and loans. But the poverty and squalor before last week was shattering and horrible. Now, the Haitian government is virtually obliterated. Survival for millions is at stake.

Words are not enough. Images are not enough.

The challenge for the world is to respond adequately. Neglectful and far from innocent in the progressive
erosion of institutions in Haiti, will the U.S., France and other countries step up now and bring real change?

The work of nonprofits and our individual contributions — crucial though they are — are not enough. We need to build infrastructure, empowering Haitians who are willing and able to act selflessly for the future of their country. And we need vast quantities of money and builders and planners and teachers and doctors.

Any recovery means starting from the beginning — international police and military units on the streets right away, probably led by the United States, to avoid the spread of violence. Next, infrastructure to rescue and treat people to avoid a crisis in which many more people die of injuries or lack of food and water.

Stability for Haiti will take time and endurance. Everything must now change.

- Peter Eisner

For more Worldfocus coverage of Haiti, visit our extended coverage page: Haiti’s Poor.

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Comments

9 comments

#9

I was there. I was uplifted by the military on helicopters from the refugee camp and then to the airport where I got evacuated. Great job!
Why can’t they let the U.S, marines take over the more critical operations like population census and primary care distribution.
This is no time for civilians whether haitian or foreign officials to be messing around , supposing what they ought to do next. The US military has a manual field designed to handle this swiftly and intelligently. Just like President Obama asked.
I hust hope those civilians get out of the way and let the military do its job. That way, they won’t blame Obama again.

#8

hi this is kimberly and im sorry 4 what happen i fell so bad!!!!

#7

What has been going on in Haiti, over the decades, is clearly immoral. The Literacy rate is about 50%, 6% of the population has aides or is HIV positive, 50% of the population are under the age of 18, (not encouraging news if one hopes to see lots of sound judgement at this a moment in time), their government, dictators and politicians are all a bunch of exploitive crooks. There were, previous to this earthquake, about 325,000 orphans, excluding the young girls and boys who have been sold into slavery by impoverished, desperate and opportunistic families, the island has been denuded to provide the poor with charcoal which they use for fuel causing floods with every coming hurricane and so . . . the beat goes on. Much needed supplies are at the airport, however due to Haiti’s world-famous crime rate, everyone is afraid of the natives and won’t really get the help out to them directly and immediately. I can’t resist commenting that I have not seen or heard, on any of the network’s coverage, anything louder than a UN whistle. Where are the megaphones, loud speakers and fog horns to gain the attention of those we are seeking to help? No one has spoken to the people in the streets, those with no television or radio or cell phones to tell them to stand in line, food and doctors are one their way and that crime will not be tolerated, etc. Right now Haitians are understandably scared, operating under very desperate circumstances and therefore with very primitive survival skills. What needs to be considered and feared is realizing that in the absence of leadership frightened people will follow anyone. We need to see some leadership in finding a direct method of helping Haitians that does not include enough cash for their “leaders” to buy lavish estates in the South of France or remain comfortably well off while in Exile. Call me crazy however I have a problem with any Head of State who hails from an impoverished nation always being so flush.

I don’t care if it takes tanks rolling down the streets, Haiti needs help and we as part of the community of The World, need to get cracking and not fear how it may look. I would say that we need to be a little less “respectful” and a little more “result oriented” and soon! Frankly, Haiti needs a huge change. I think however, that I would be more in favor of Marshall Law than a Marshall Plan right about now.

Helen Vos

#6

You are building a country, but a city. Haiti was a mess last week, last month, last year. With all of the groups that were in Haiti for years trying to bring the nation equal to its neighbors with little results how do you expect that any kind of AID will this time result in an modern country. It is a country on general welfare. It can not grow enough food to feed itself. Its housing is sub-standard without building codes.The worst factor is that Port-au-Princes sit next to a earthquick fault line and the next time it happens the city itself could in theory sink 20 meters.

#5

New high resolution pictures on the destruction from the 2010 Haiti Earthquake have been posted from on the ground in Port-Au-Prince and Jacmel

http://www.jlaforums.com/album.php?search=haiti&search_cond=Pic%20Description&sort_order=&start=0

http://www.jlaforums.com/album.php?search=haiti&search_cond=Pic%20Title&sort_order=&start=0

#4

perhaps the money could come from the IMF, World Bank, and of course France as well. they are collectively responsible for the extortion of money, resources and the destitution of the lives of the population!
IMF, and World Bank(s) are nothing more than extortion agencies!!
renounce the catholic churches endorsement of no birthcontrol as well!

#3

Haiti definitely needs a Marshall Plan. I completed agree with Gizem’s comment.

#2

“empty your mind of the world’s prejudiced indoctrination’s,and fill it with blissful ignorance”;…”there are no nocturnal created axioms that of nihilistic darwinism paralleling evolution doesn’t predate regarding mankinds ambivalence to violence”;…”thusly,If born all equal,…that is of the flesh,and blood to differ would be improper,for the grand master does not want indifference as we see it,rather each,and all individuals as a whole undivided on a canvas,…the finely woven patterns of macarism,and sage,needless to say with all the embroidery underlays,for the master’s hand works through his chosen artist which the maker endows within us a free spirit that strokes,and brushes the canvas with the cabaret of futility til we image a character,illusive or distinct,…for neither matters,but must be accomplished for the difference is what makes the final contest the triumphant omega,unbeknown to mortal man,…that is how I believe it should be,that is up to the conscious decipher,or judge in us all,…that is the true makeup of unmasking mankinds greatness,…or fail to willow down into tommorrows lesson’s,being that this is number one of one, for the masters hand of infinite wisdom touches all of us”;…Bravo to you MR. Peter Eisner for your candid journalism for the plight of the Haitian’s!

#1

It’s also important to note that the support to Haiti should be made in grants not in loans. The country is already in billions of dollars of debt and most of it is “odious debt,” made out to previous dictators who used the money not for developing the country but for their own empowerment.

This disaster should not be an investment opportunity for other countries and powerful corporations. Hopefully the aid will be directed to genuine efforts to rebuild Haiti from scratch.

Peter Eisner is an editorial consultant with Worldfocus and a 30-year veteran of international news. He has been an editor and foreign correspondent at The Washington Post, Newsday and The Associated Press. He co-authored “The Italian Letter,” which details fraudulent intelligence leading up to the Iraq War. He was founder and president of Newscom, an international online news service, and speaks Spanish and Portuguese.

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