हेटी ले सिकाउने: घुस खाने कि तलब खाने?
Hello, Jajarkot! No worries. I’ve sent doctors and drugs. They’ll arrive in a couple of years!
How not to rebuild Nepal
Last Saturday, I watched with the rest of the world as images emerged in the wake of Nepal’s violent earthquake: the dusty faces of survivors, bloodied bodies, the ruined historic buildings. It reminded me of the devastation I witnessed after the earthquake in my homeland, Haiti, five years ago — and it made me worry about what will come next in Nepal.......... I hope that they will be able to avoid the grave mistakes made by Haitians and by the well-intentioned donors who came to our aid. ..... here were two disasters in Haiti: the earthquake, and then the humanitarian crisis that followed. More than $10 billion in foreign aid still hasn’t enabled our country to recover from this disaster. ...... Most aid projects in Haiti promised “community participation,” yet most failed to truly include local people. What happened with housing provides a clear example. Many aid groups insisted on moving earthquake survivors who were living under tarps into “transitional shelters.” They ignored the objections of Haitians, who feared the flimsy plywood structures — prone to leaks and collapse — would become their permanent homes. Aid groups spent more than $500 million on these transitional shelters,” but have built less than 9,000 new long-term houses. Tragically, yesterday’s “temporary” shelters have become today’s permanent slums. ........ Many aid groups sent well-meaning but barely trained volunteers and deployed foreign doctors and nurses to areas where skilled Haitian professionals were readily available. Of every dollar given to the earthquake response in Haiti, less than a penny went to Haitian organizations........ If these funds had supported local people and organizations, the money would have gone much further. ........ Most aid after the earthquake focused on the short term, often ignoring long-term needs, especially infrastructure needed to prevent humanitarian crises in the future. My country is still struggling to contain the largest modern outbreak of cholera in history. The disease is thought to have been introduced by United Nations peacekeeping forces after the 2010 earthquake, but the crisis does not end there. This epidemic has continued largely because relief funds have unfortunately not been used to help Haiti build sufficient sewage systems. ............ Though coordinating aid seems like the most obvious thing to do, it didn’t happen in Haiti. Many aid groups clamored to support high-profile projects, which resulted in wasteful redundancies in some areas while allowing people in less well-known places to languish. Lack of accountability about foreign aid was the rule, with donors and Haitians receiving little news about how this aid was being spent.हेटी २०१० बाट नेपाल ले सिक्नुपर्ने छ। सब भन्दा गड़बड़ गर्ने धनी देश हरु नै देखिए त्यहाँ। मेरो विचारमा समस्याको समाधान 100% Online Transparency नै हो। समस्याको समाधान बामे ले भने जस्तो सबै पैसा प्रधान मंत्री राहत कोष मा राख्ने भन्ने होइन। त्यसो गर्दा के हुन्छ नेपालको बच्चा बच्चा लाई थाहा छ। सबको मालुम है।
Media lessons for Nepal from Haiti: Don’t let outsiders seize control of the narrative
Expressions like ‘fragile state’ and ‘among the poorest nations’ were used by foreign powers to take control of the disaster response in Haiti in 2010. Nepal shouldn’t allow the same mistake. ...... each disaster has its own context, its survivors and citizens as first responders their own cultural understandings and priorities. Local people need to be in charge of the response. ..... At 4.53 pm on January 12, 2010, an earthquake of 7.0 magnitude struck outside Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. The damage was unimaginable: an estimated 230,000 people died and equal numbers were injured. Over half the housing in the capital was seriously damaged; 105,000 houses were completely destroyed and 188,383 houses badly damaged, requiring repair. An estimated 1.5 million people lost their homes and stayed in makeshift Internally Displaced Persons camps. Though some of these numbers were subsequently contested, the Haiti earthquake became a transnational event because of foreign media coverage. For weeks it dominated the airwaves and cyberspace. ...... In the first week, private US citizens contributed $275 million, mostly to large NGOs like the Red Cross. ..... Sixty per cent of American households and over 80% of African-American families donated to the Haiti quake response, despite feeling the pinch from the global financial crisis. Worldwide, individuals donated $3.02 billion. ........ In the US, media stories abounded of first-time mission trips, almost invariably to celebrate the hometown heroes. Many of these narratives extolled Haitian people’s spirituality and resilience, at times to justify less aid. The returning heroes, now newly-minted experts, spoke about the virtues of Christianity, of capitalist development, public health and hygiene, and limited representative democracy – all markers of assumed cultural and racial superiority. The collective residues of these stories justified, and naturalised, foreign control of the country. ........ The New York Times columnist David Brooks, for instance, argued that Haitian culture was resistant to progress. ..... After the earthquake, the familiar language of Haiti being a “fragile” or “failed” state, which is among “the poorest in the hemisphere”, served to justify the need for foreign intervention as well as a convenient explanation for the limited progress of this intervention. ....... By focusing on “deficient” local cultural practices, social systems and institutions, the foreign media diverted attention from how foreign policies had played a role in amplifying the quake’s destructiveness. In processes similar to Mumbai, the population of Port-au-Prince had quadrupled after the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and United States Agency for International Development began promoting neoliberal economic policies there. Coupled with the erosion of state capacity, neoliberalism contributed to Haiti’s “vulnerability” to the disaster. ..... Haiti-as-a-failed-state is within the frame, while foreign imposed neoliberalism is outside. Similarly, heroic acts of foreigners are highlighted, whereas Haitian people are outside the frame, dehumanised and infantilised. ....... First, the discourse of a “weak state” served to justify foreign control of the process and near-total exclusion of Haitian people from it. Second, this exclusion, having roots in framing Haitian people out of the story and tropes of dehumanisation, led to practices and relationships wherein
aid recipients felt treated like animals. Third, the disaster response was greatly influenced by the “photo op”, prioritising high-visibility and high-cost “solutions” at the expense of those more sustainable. Finally, a “blame game” led to increasingly severe responses, including increasingly violent forced evictions.