The latest news out of Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Matthew is not good. As many as a thousand people dead, whole towns wiped out and a looming cholera outbreak. A lot of people have been thinking about how they might help and there are plenty of organizations gearing up to take donations.
But Haiti has had a complicated history, when it comes to aid. Jonathan M. Katz was the Associated Press bureau chief in Haiti during the earthquake 6 years ago.
His book about that quake and the aid that followed is called “The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster.” Kai Ryssdal spoke with Katz about what we learned from how aid was administered in 2010 and after.
On how aid gets administered:
I think there’s some fundamental misunderstandings about the way aid works... We have this humanitarian aid industry and that industry is constantly functioning, it just gets into a slightly higher gear ... And really, the work that those aid groups do, is never really intended to make the long-term systemic differences necessary in order to face the next disaster to come.
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