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‘Fatal Assistance,’ About Relief Efforts in Haiti – NYTimes.com


Good intentions and billions of promised dollars only go so far. That, certainly, is one of the sobering truths in “Fatal Assistance,” a potent, persuasive and quietly furious documentary that examines how international aid agencies failed Haiti after the catastrophic 2010 earthquake. That disaster, which was followed by other calamities, including a cholera outbreak, left an estimated quarter-million people dead and more than a million temporarily or permanently homeless. People and organizations across the world pledged help, and money started to flood in along with journalists, religious workers, relief groups, Bill Clinton and Sean Penn.

That, at any rate, might have been what it seemed like if you followed the news, and why it might also have been a surprise that progress seemed so slow in coming to Haiti as one earthquake anniversary followed the next. Four years after the disaster, newspapers continue to run editorials about a crisis that seems without end; in December the United Nations released a humanitarian action plan filled with charts, statistics and promises. The plan opens with a blunt question — “Why continue supporting Haiti?” — the answer to which feels self-evident. That same page of the plan includes some graphics ornamented with text that is both diagnostic (poverty, political instability, drought, landslides, malnutrition, vulnerability) and motivational (save lives and livelihoods, increase resilience). via – NYTimes.com.

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