The Haiti relief effort is in full operation, with the United Nations, individual relief organizations, the U.S. government including the U.S. military and eight additional departments and agencies within the government, and humanitarian aid, and resources from countries around the world. The earthquake caused widespread damage, and ruined the infrastructure of the country. The head of the International Monetary Fund has called for a “Marshall-like Plan” to help rebuild the country, and help establish a viable infrastructure and economy. This blog post comments on some of the efforts that are underway.
In lessons learned from the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia, the United Nations developed a “Cluster System” to coordinate relief efforts. The purpose of the cluster system is to put experts on the ground as soon as possible, and to organize them into groups based on expertise. For example, according to U.N. officials, there are meetings every day at 3 p.m. at the Ministry of Water in Port-au-Prince, in the offices which have not been too badly damaged, so that all water and sanitation agencies will go to that meeting and coordinate how they best respond. Although the cluster system is not without its critics, it was implemented in recent disasters in the Pakistan earthquake, and floods in the Philippines.
Another example of the cluster system is the Health Cluster, in which partners will work with the national health authorities and health partners to ensure a coordinated response to the needs of the Haitian population.
Here is a list of some of the efforts underway in Haiti, and links to further information.
United Nations. The U.N. has a multi-pronged effort underway involving Children (UNICEF), Development (UN Development Program), Food (World Food Program), Health (UNAIDS & World Health Organization), Humanitarian Coordination (OCHA), and Population (United Nations Population Fund)
U.S. Haiti Earthquake Relief. Firstly, if you go to this White House site, you will find links to many agencies within the Federal Government which are directly involved in relief efforts in Haiti. The most visible form of assistance has been the U.S. Military, and you can visit this site to find out how U.S. Defense Department is aiding the Haitian population. You can find how the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is helping at this site. An important part of the effort is organized by USAID. USAID is an independent federal government agency that receives overall foreign policy guidance from the Secretary of State. The U.S. Department of State has established this website that describes its activities, and how the Department of State is helping the Haitian people. You can link to the U.S. Embassy in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti at this website. Further assistance is provided by Department of Homeland Security, and the Interior Department.
Independent Aid Organizations. There are many organizations that have had a presence in Haiti long before the January 12th earthquake. These humanitarian organizations are there on the ground, working to help the people of Haiti. There is a very extensive list of these organizations at this New York Times site for your information.