Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Donations for Haiti

This blogpost makes note of the anniversary of Haiti in a not-too-positive way. The blogger notes that the Red Cross raised $32million on text messages alone - $10 at a time. But the blogger also notes that there's very little accounting for where the money went.

One side note is the blogger mentioned that the Disaster Accountability Project asked 200 charities where the money went and only 38 responded. The blogger does give details on the 200 or the 38. This is one reason I believe blogging will never replace real reporting, but the blogger isn't trying to report, just to make a point.

The question to take away from this is how should we help countries like Haiti when disasters like this strike? Should we ignore them altogether as some in the comments have said? Why not go in, take over the government, fix everything and give it back? It would be cheaper.

Unfortunately, there are things like sovereignty that get in the way. And there's no guarantee that if we did this we could find capable people to accept it when we finished.

I'm a firm believer in helping these people out, and helping them in a small, direct way. Agencies like Samaritan’s Purse have a low overhead and directly help people. One of the commenters to the blog note that we should take in more water purifiers, porta-potties, etc. This is a win-win solution, US wins because we manufacture some of those things and Haiti wins because they need them.

There are several people who commented that the people can't be helped until the government changes. While that's probably true, there's little you or I can do to change the government. We can either continue to send money in useless ways or we can find better ways to spend our money (or we can just ignore the situation).

See also my post about the Haiti Relief effort and Pat Robertson here.

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