I just watched a piece on my local news about a town in Haiti, overlooking the Caribbean, that has still not received any money to help rebuild. It's been more than 5 months since the earthquake. The mayor and his wife still live in a tent because his wife is too scared to stay in their big house that was damaged a bit in the quake. The mayor talked about how they received tents, and that is IT. No money. He said he has only received one phone call from his government about what is happening. Of course, I'm not there, I don't know who is being truthful or not, but our local news girl was narrating and a lot of clips were shown of buildings laying in crumbled shards, schools leveled, etc and still nothing has been done other than the people in the town working with their own bare hands to sort things out.
The mayor of Jacmel is waiting for a wooden house to be finished on his property before he can move out of his tent. Awhile back he got a group of people together to inspect homes and mark them with special symbols so they know which houses are considered safe, in need of repair, or condemned... but those houses needing repairs still sit because there has been no monetary aide to make major repairs. What's up with that? Where did the hundreds upon hundreds of millions of world wide aide go?
The mayor also said something I found rather interesting.. he said things were done instead like the tents. He stated that they cost $600 US each, and that whatever group it was gave out about 4000 of them but he thinks that money could have been used better elsewhere. He said "If your house is in need of repair, they just hand you a tent". But what caught my attention most was that cost - 600 bucks for a small tent?? You can get a huge 3 room 12 man tent from Sears for 200-300 bucks. I got one for $150 in a sale that comfortably fits 8 people and zips off into 3 separated sleeping areas and a common room, plus has 3 little storage areas that can be zipped off to keep everything separate. So why the $#%&^ did it cost $600 for these dome tents? Who the hell authorized those? Oh gee could it be another case of a government or big organization buying up the most expensive items instead of something rational? The people of Haiti are not on Everest and needing super duper layers of thick canvas walls and extreme stitching or whatever makes a little dome tent cost 600 bucks - they needed shelter and something that might give them a little hope. If you had a family made homeless by a disaster and you had a choice between a 4-6 man dome tent, or a 3 bedroom tent with storage areas, what would you pick? Not to mention the second choice would mean being able to buy one or two more similar tents for another family or two... geezus murphy.
But anyway, here we are 5 months and 3 days after the big devastating quake and many towns have seen NO aide money. More disasters have happened in other areas since then. My coworker just went to Nashville TN on the weekend as part of her Elvis/Memphis tour and was so sad to see so much of it in ruins. Other countries and regions have been dealt a devastating blow by nature - 20 campers killed in flash flooding for example. Volcanos, more earthquakes, flooding - it's everywhere. But Haiti got the attention and people responded in heaping doses of cash - for what exactly?? The front page of my local newspaper yesterday showed the problems with trying to get schools up and running, have places for these children to go and try to continue their lives, but no aide coming in from the major organizations... where is it??