Five Lessons from Haiti's Disaster
By Paul Farmer, Foreign Policy, December 2010
What the earthquake taught us about foreign aid.
Disaster relief is not reconstruction. We haven't rebuilt Haiti despite giving 1.1 million people access to drinking water; we didn't remake the country with the 11,000 latrines that have been installed. "Building Haiti back better" means sustaining those temporary gains and adding education, health care, services, and good governance.
What's most important in getting started? Economic growth. Yet it is a challenge hardly mentioned in aid documents or strategies -- coming up only twice in the United Nations' most recent 44-page report. Poverty of the kind that was so acutely revealed this January can't be defeated until there is a brighter economic future for the millions of Haitians who are ready to seize it.
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