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Haiti: Where Did The Money Go?

When a devastating 7.0 earthquake leveled Haiti in January 2010, the world responded. In America alone, half of all households donated a stunning $1.4 billion to a total of 23 major charities. But where exactly did all that money go?

Ten months after the quake, we went to Haiti to find out—and what we found was the big business of emergency aid. Some say that what is happening there is nothing more than “disaster profiteering.” Others say relief organizations are just doing the best they can under very difficult circumstances. The fact is that more than a year after the earthquake, roughly 2 million Haitians remain homeless in squalid camps. Seventy percent of those camps have no latrines, and in the ones that do, thousands of people share a single toilet. Malnutrition is on the rise. The lack of potable water has caused a rise in infections. Cholera remains a constant threat, and about ninety-eight percent of the rubble remains un-cleared. With at least 10,000 known aid groups now operating in Haiti—the most per capita in the world— we asked a simple question: why are people still living like this?

And then, we went back again. What we found 20 months after the earthquake was shocking.

Through interviews with the American Red Cross, Catholic Relief Services, anthropologists, aid experts and more, this fascinating hour uses the situation in Haiti to explore how disaster aid really works, why it often doesn’t, and which organizations are the most effective on the ground. We walked hundreds of camps, twice, and, we let the Haitians tell their own story, especially a 25-year-old mother of two small children, Wilna Vital.

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Michele Mitchell

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