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05/01/2010

Where Do You Even Begin?



When discussing the Haiti’s recovery one of the
first questions people ask is, “What’s being done with the billions
of dollars that’s been pledged in relief aid?” I don’t
presume to have the answer, because quite frankly, I don’t think anyone
has really come up with a solution.
 
It’s true that Haitians need help now. Most were
living with crushing poverty before the quake. One aid worker told me that for
some, living in the tent camps (now with portable toilets and food
distribution) is a step up from their previous standard of living. 
That’s mind boggling. 
 
But there has to be a long term fix. On the streets
industrious workers are demolishing damaged structures with pickaxes and
sledgehammers. My photographer Mike Thorne and I marveled at how quickly a
retaining wall was being built by workers using nothing but their bare hands. 
Heavy stones were carried by men toiling in the burning sun, some in bare feet.
 
Though the circumstances are entirely different, we used
9/11 as a reference point. It took highly skilled workers using the finest
heavy machinery months of round-the-clock work to clear the World Trade
Center site. That was an
area of a few blocks. This is an entire city in ruins. And the devastation
isn’t limited to Port-au-Prince.

 
Then there are the other needs that must be addressed for
the nation to recover and to have a chance to thrive: education, economic
development, political stability. That’s why it’s sad to ask the
next question, “Where do you even begin?”
 
Marcus Solis

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