Where To Begin Rebuilding A Nation?

Positive change can only happen if Haiti and its international partners find a way to overcome problems that existed long before the quake, including poverty and poor governance.

In an article on the Miami Herald website, Andres Viglucci and Scott Hiaasen say the Haitian ambassador to the US described an optimistic future for Haiti. Raymond Joseph told an American audience on C-SPAN that what was not politically possible before – to rebuild the city in a better way – is now possible, a “silver lining” of the devastating January 12th earthquake.

The United Nations will start discussing long-term plans at a meeting this week in Montreal. Meanwhile, the Haitian government has begun the process of establishing settlements for evacuees outside Port-au-Prince. Experts warn from experience that such mass relocations can frighten and isolate people, and that long-term plans “must not be imposed on Haiti by outsiders,” Viglucci and Hiaasen write.

After the tsunami of 2004 killed 228,000 people in 14 countries along the Indian Ocean, USAID built homes, roads and many of the essential structures a community needs. The agency also provided training and loans to help promote business, as well as psychological counseling for survivors.

“If Haiti is ever to lessen its reliance on foreign aid, however, it must also seize the change to buildup its small private sector,” says the article.

To read the Miami Herald article, please click here: