Such a huge issue with so many tentacles of side effects and causes, but the author does point out how the industry which has grown up around disaster relief has in many ways outgrown its usefulness and become a for-profit venture in many instances. Shocking when you consider that you'd sent money thinking it would be used to assist those in need, rather than to support a lavish lifestyle for someone there to 'help'.
Journalist Jonathan Katz was stationed in Haiti, working for the Associated Press, when a major earthquake devastated the country on January 12, 2010. He reported from the front lines of the disaster beginning the moment after it struck, and in The Big Truck That Went By he details both the immediate ruin and the continuing disaster of slow and inadequate responses by both Haitian leaders and international aid programs. He explains reasons for slow recovery and describes successful relief and rebuilding programs. Another thorough examination of the earthquake's effects appears in Haiti After the Earthquake, edited by Paul Farmer. History and Current Events newsletter September 2014.
Terrible disasters always inspire generosity from people around the globe, but once the press moves on and the world forgets, what happens to the survivors? Johathan Katz was the only American journalist stationed in Haiti at the time of the 2010 quake. He survived the quake and stayed close to the survivors long after the celebrities and ex-US presidents had gone. He gives a thoroughly researched account of the relief effort, including the billions in aid money that never reached the Haitian people and the cholera epidemic that did. There's also a fascinating account of the history of Haiti. I couldn't put this book down.
"The road to hell is paved with good intentions" is documented in this first person, on the ground account from an AP reporter of the unintended outcomes of a global desire to help earthquake victims and how dollars donated never leave the countries from which they are pledged.
Heartbreaking and enraging at the same time.
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