Friday, January 22, 2010

Save the Children President and CEO Talks with 'The Chronicle of Philanthropy' about Haiti Relief

Haiti 125x125 after a devastating earthquake hit the capital of Haiti – a country already in the throes of consistent upheaval – employees of Save the Children, which has a permanent operation in Haiti, began administering care and supplies to the quake victims. Throughout the week, Save the Children sent additional staff from its outposts around the world.

On Sunday, January 17, Save the Children President and CEO Charles MacCormack flew down to Haiti to survey the conditions in Port-au-Prince and the surrounding camps. A few days later, he sat down with The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the newspaper of record for the nonprofit community, to talk about the earthquake relief and the rebuilding of Haiti. The following is excerpted from that article, which can be read in full here.

What are the most pressing needs in Haiti right now?

The immediate needs remain water, food, medicines, and sanitation. But in order to provide that, the needs are fuel and cash.

There have been reports of planes full of supplies not being able to land, and of aid trucks not getting to those who need it. Will there be more deaths in the days and weeks ahead because of the slow pace of aid?

Every day is better than the day before. You've got a situation where, for all practical purposes, you have got 2 to 3 million people impacted and displaced and in need, and you've got one runway to get everything in. And you've got a road to Santo Domingo, which is not adequate to moving large vehicles over extended periods of time. That fact is obviously creating a bottleneck and that bottleneck has got to be widened.

There's been a lot of talk about building Haiti "back better." What would that look like?

Number one, there need to be jobs. As long as you have 70 or 80 percent of the country unemployed, there can never be stability.

More immediately, there is going to be three or four years of reconstruction that’s going to have to be done. Construction of schools, clinics, hospitals, government, housing. We should look to relatively labor-intensive ways of doing that so Haitian people can do the work.

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Haiti's children

Haiti's children