A doc that asks the pivotal question—why did so much money buy so little relief? And why are so many still living in squalor?
In the United States alone, half of all households gave a total of $1.4 billion to charities, yet almost two years later more than half a million people still live in squalid camps. Only a few have access to drinking water. Sanitation is woefully inadequate. Malnutrition and cholera are on the rise. What happened?
Cameras take viewers to crowded camps where thousands of families live under tattered tarps beside overflowing latrines, and then into the board rooms of relief organizations, where journalist Michele Mitchell asks the American Red Cross and others about why conditions in Haiti continue to deteriorate when people have donated billions of dollars for aid.
Mitchell visited camps in Haiti in fall of 2010 and again ten months later in fall of 2011. “I was shocked to see how much worse things had gotten.” While in spring of 2011, half of the camps had access todrinking water—by fall that number had dropped to only seven percent. Although the UN estimates a need for 12,000 latrines, far fewer were built and most of those aren’t working, leaving the camps with one working latrine for every 300 people.
Mitchell travels with relief workers who had high hopes for a coordinated effort to rebuild Haiti, but are now frustrated to see that conditions fall far short of recognized standards for relief housing. Relief workers and journalists on the ground tell her this is business as usual in the aid world.
HAITI: Where Did the Money Go? examines the relief effort in Haiti after the devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010.