It is five years since a massive earthquake tore through Haiti, leaving tens if not hundreds of thousands dead and sparking a huge aid effort from overseas governments and charities to feed, shelter and treat afflicted Haitians.
A total of $13bn, more than 10 per cent of the global annual government aid budget, was pledged over several years — about $10bn from governments, and the rest from private donors.
Looking back, what was the effect of all this assistance? Did it provide short-term relief? Did it put the Caribbean nation on the path to higher living standards, better governance and greater resilience to natural disasters? Or could the aid effort have been much more effective?
The verdict at this juncture is: don’t know. Read more
This weekend marked the third anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti.
We asked Orla Ryan to tell us about her trip to the Caribbean country in October last year, where she reported from the capital city Port au Prince, and the coastal town of Jacmel.
Why now? I went to Haiti for the first time in October as part of the FT’s Seasonal Appeal. I was asked to write a series of pieces highlighting the work of the Global Fund for Children, which backs grassroot charities that work with children. It was, in any case, an interesting time to go to Haiti. It was nearly three years since the earthquake had hit, killing more than 300,000 and displacing many more. Big aid organisations had promised a lot but there was a lot of scepticism about what they had actually delivered. It was a chance to see what local organisations did.
Lasting impressions? I was struck by what a beautiful city Port au Prince could be, or people told me, once had been. It is backed into green hills – I was there during the rainy season and am sure it is not always as lush or as muddy – and on a Caribbean island. But mostly, it looked as if it had turned its back on the sea, its residents focused inwards on making a living. Read more
By Daniel Dombey, US diplomatic correspondent
What do you say about a natural disaster that has displaced 2m people, destroyed or damaged 500,000 homes and killed some 800 people – but still seems almost overshadowed by an even greater calamity elsewhere?
Hillary Clinton sought to put her thoughts and feelings into words when she paid a flying visit to Chile on Tuesday, whose devastating 8.8 Richter scale earthquake comes hard on the heels of the Biblical scenes of devastation in Haiti.
Arriving with aid, promises of more help on the way and a vow not to distract the country from its emergency and reconstruction effort, she was clearly moved. Read more