How NGOs are Profiting Off a Grave Situation
Haiti and the Aid Racket
By ASHLEY SMITH As many analysts have noted, the U.S. in fact used its "relief" operation to disguise a military occupation of Haiti, intended to prevent a flood of refugees reaching the U.S., impose even greater sweatshop development on Haiti, and signal to the rest of Latin America, the Caribbean and the world's most powerful governments that U.S. aims to reassert its power in the region.
As a result, relief aid from the U.S. has played second fiddle to its imperial ambitions--and the NGO-centered aspect of its response is an important part of its strategy.
Instead of aiding the Haitian state and building up its capacity to handle the crisis, the U.S. is funneling $379 million in aid through its own agencies and then through NGOs. According to the Associated Press:
Each American dollar roughly breaks down like this: 42 cents for disaster assistance, 33 cents for U.S. military aid, nine cents for food, nine cents to transport the food, five cents for paying Haitian survivors for recovery efforts, just less than one cent to the Haitian government, and about half a cent to the Dominican Republic.
Most of the privately raised funds have been funneled to NGOs that have a checkered history in Haiti, not ones with a real commitment to invigorating Haitian self-organization. As Bill Quigley writes:
Donations for Haiti to private organizations have exceeded $644 million. Over $200 million has gone to the Red Cross, which had 15 people working on health projects in Haiti before the earthquake. About $40 million has gone to Partners in Health, which had 5,000 people working on health in Haiti before the quake.
The big NGOs, which are getting the bulk of the money, see the crisis as an enormous opportunity to raise funds and their profile. Thus, instead of a centralized and logical relief effort, something only a sovereign state could provide, the NGOs are competing with one another, literally branding areas they serve with their logos. As a result of this competition, they provide spotty and chaotic relief provision. According to the British medical journal The Lancet, the NGOs are:
jostling for position, each claiming that they are doing the most for earthquake survivors. Some agencies even claim that they are "spearheading" the relief effort. In fact, as we only too clearly see, the situation in Haiti is chaotic, devastating and anything but coordinated.
FAIR USE NOTICE:
This site may at times contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml