Ten months after the quake, Haitians scour a Port-au-Prince garbage dump for food and supplies (more photos from Antonio Bolfo here). On Haiti’s recovery, Jeneen Interlandi writes, “The people of Haiti need food, shelter, and clean water, but they also want their country back, and eventually they may have to reclaim it from the very people who rushed there to save them.”
Ommanney shoots from Haiti.
NEWSWEEK: You’ve noted that the relief effort so far has been overly militarized. Given that the military is responsible for coordinating much of the aid, why do you think that’s inappropriate?
KLEIN: It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Every day that people are not receiving food, it becomes harder to maintain order. What we’re hearing from U.N. and aid agencies is that they’re afraid of going out without military escort. And what we just saw during the quake is that some foreign investors had their own parallel privatized disaster infrastructure. Citigroup sent in private-security SWAT teams equipped with medical supplies and satellite phones to save their people, but not their neighbors. That’s dehumanizing. Aid should be prioritized over security. Any aid agency that’s afraid of Haitians should get out of Haiti.
Naomi Klein, on Haiti
Turns out houses made of straw are surprisingly stable. From Janeen Interlandi’s really great piece explaining why Haiti’s buildings collapsed, and how they should be rebuilt:
A stronger Haitian capital will have to include more earthquake-resistant housing. And while such engineering is expensive, there are some cost-effective options that experts say could be a good fit for Haiti. Straw-bale houses, which are already being built in Pakistan, have proved to be just as resistant as other earthquake-proof designs, at only half the cost. In one recent study, the houses—made of clay, soil, straw, and gravel, and built by unskilled laborers—withstood forces comparable to the 6.7-magnitude earthquake in Northridge, Calif., in 1994.
Joanna Muñoz: “Help Haiti”
Figured I’d put my creativity to good use and gin up a poster for the American Red Cross.
Text “Haiti” to 90999 to donate $10 to Red Cross. $10 million donated as of 2:30pm on January 15, 2010.
In his narrow, malicious way, Pat Robertson is making a First Commandment argument: when the God of Israel thunders from his mountaintop that “you shall have no other gods before me,” he means it. This God rains down disaster—floods and so forth—on those who disobey.
But Robertson’s is a fundamentalist view. It’s so unkind and self-righteous—and deaf, dumb, and blind to centuries of theological discourse on suffering by thinkers from Augustine to Elie Wiesel—that one might easily call it backward. Every Western religious tradition teaches that mortals have no way of counting or weighing another’s sin. “If that happened to the Haitians because they’re so sinful, then why hasn’t it happened to him?” retorts Bart Ehrman, a Bible scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Miller on the theology of suffering.
Haiti’s earthquake, before and after
Mary Carmichael on the longer-term health challenges facing Haiti quake responders