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Haiti post-quake – how are they doing?

Posted by Lindy on October 30, 2010

The Overseas Development Institute, a U.K. think-tank, had already compiled a report outlining 28 disasters over 30 years of earthquake aid. A report on Haiti Real Time Evaluation (RTE) .

What went well:

  • medical care, with a major contribution from Médecins Sans Frontières, was strong,
  • the World Health Organization’s disease control efforts were strong
  • water distributions were prioritized, with thousands of cubic liters distributed by May 2010; organization of food assistance, after initial hiccups, meant food aid reached 3.5 million people;
  • d emergency education efforts were good.
  • 57%of the $1.5 billion revised humanitarian flash appeal was funded.

What was not so good:

  • Needs assessments were incomplete and duplicative;
  • transitional – as in medium-term – shelter was not provided at scale;
  • sanitation solutions were inadequate;
  • the overall protection response – particularly to sexual and gender based violence – was weak.
  • few agencies informed local communities of what they were doing or why they were there;
  • Most coordination meetings for each sector, or “cluster*“, took place in English, marginalising locals who spoke only French or Creole;
  • UN and cluster leadership was poor – it took a long time to establish – some groups did not even meet fro 3 weeks after the disaster.
  • Humanitarian NGOs are geared up to working in rural environments – they do have the skills or experience of how to respond to urban ones.


  • NGOs/UN need to plan how to work in urban environments
  • The clusters should do more than just talk to each other – they should plan joint strategies
  • Improve protection and water and sanitation responses in crises;
  • to use new technology more effectively –
  • for instance using SMS applications to distribute cash,
  • or satellite imagery in needs-assessments.
  • Agencies should finally try to grasp the lesson that taking an inclusive, participatory approach (with the local people) does not necessarily slow down response, but can indeed make it quicker.

*Cluster – is a group of UN organisations/NGOs who come together to look after a partiuclar aspect AID – each group is headed up by a cluster leader e.g in this case the Red Cross for shelter and UNICEF for water, and it is these organisations that coordinate response and ensure that duplication does not occur, nor are areas left un-catered for.


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