What to Do About Rebuilding Haiti

January 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Tough Love Stories

I hope that the rush of international aid to Haiti will minimize the loss of life and suffering by the folks stranded on that island. Phase two of the recovery will involve important questions of what should be done to rebuild the country. As harsh as it may seem, this is a financial question as well as a human one.

The U.S. will be expected by everyone to take a lead role in rebuilding efforts. It will be expensive. So how should it be done?

Let’s look at the hard truth. For decades, Haiti has been an economic and political mess. In more recent years, Haiti ranks right up there with Somalia in having a dysfunctional government. According to reports from there now, the government has effectively disappeared.

Mrs. ToughMoneyLove has been to Haiti twice on medical missions. By all accounts, the people of Haiti (excluding the drug gangs, thugs, and corrupt politicians) are wonderful and deserving of far more than their government has provided them. They have lived lives of desperation for years.

The landscape of the country has been stripped of vegetation. Haiti produces far less food than it needs. The buildings are unsafe because there are no building codes. Clean water and electricity were hard to procure even before the earthquake.

It will probably cost more to “rebuild” Haiti than to start a new country from scratch because: (a) we basically have to bulldoze everything that is already there; and (b) we have to take care of the people who are there while we bulldoze and rebuild. That’s assuming that you could even do that.

It will be months before a massive rebuilding project can be planned, funded, and started. What will happen to the Haitians during that time? Where will they live? What will they eat? Most of all, who will govern and protect them?

Assuming that we rebuild Haiti, the country remains on a major fault line. Another earthquake could hit in our lifetimes, causing more devastation and loss of life. Do we want this to happen?

So you must know by now what Mr. ToughMoneyLove is thinking:  Should we evacuate the residents of Haiti who want to leave? Get those people out of there and to a place – perhaps the U.S. – where they can be cared for and protected? Yes, that is an enormous task for a population of 8 million people. But is it any more difficult than the alternatives? And will it cost less – in human and financial terms – than trying to rebuild a country that barely existed before the earthquake?

Many people won’t leave. That’s their choice. But I think we would be surprised by how many would say “I’ve had enough – I want something better.”

What do you think?


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18 Responses to “What to Do About Rebuilding Haiti”
  1. Marc says:

    Buildings are unsafe because they have no money. They could have had 50 bound volumes of building codes and it would not have mattered in the least.

  2. Evan says:

    Dominican Republic seems to be doing something right (and it isn’t because any deals with devils).

  3. averagejoe says:

    Let them go to the Dominican Republic. Better voo doo.

    Haiti is a lost cause. Save who you can, cut your losses and get out.

    Period. End of story.

    Move onto something else.

  4. kitty says:

    We can offer them humanitarian aid, but beyond that – this is a souvereign country. I don’t think they’ll take kindly to interfereces. Plus, there are many countries like this all over the world. We cannot fix them all and really shouldn’t.

    If you allow every Haitian who wants it to come to the US, why don’t you just abolish immigration laws entirely? I am sure there are zillion people in the world who’d want to leave their countries and live in the US. Now, if they are all young and hard-working this may actually help solve social security problems, but I doubt the majority of Americans would ever agree to it.

    • Rick Beagle says:

      “Now, if they are all young and hard-working this may actually help solve social security problems, but I doubt the majority of Americans would ever agree to it.”

      So wrong on so many levels, but I have to admit I snorted out a chuckle or two. Thanks.

      -Peace
      Rick Beagle

  5. MasterPo says:

    I thought the U.S. wasn’t in the business of nation building?
    I thought that was one of the great problems of America in the past that Obama has had to apologize time and time again for?

    BTW, according to actor Danny Glover the quake was all America’s fault – because of global warming! :-D

    • Rick Beagle says:

      hmm… according to some vile right winged Evangelical jack*** the earthquake was due to a pact with the devil?! And Boss Rush/Fox think Obama is catering to the “colored” vote because he is trying to help that country???

      My point? Idiots on both sides of the aisle have lost their bloody minds.

      The death toll is rising there, and when it is all said and done, the number dead is going to be staggering. Let’s pull together in these tough times and do what we can to help the living.

      -Peace
      Rick Beagle

  6. Evan says:

    “BTW, according to actor Danny Glover the quake was all America’s fault – because of global warming!”

    HAHHAHAHAHAHAHAH Peloosi is building him a statue right now

  7. Osiod says:

    Haiti is a “Debacle” A definate lost cause!

  8. MasterPo says:

    Rick – A lot of people IMMEDIATELY jumped all over him and denounced him for saying that. Haven’t heard a peep about Glover’s comments.

    BTW, isn’t it interesting that aaaallllll the people and countries Obama has been on his knees to this past year, all the ones we are told could teach US a thing or two about life and respect, have sent JACK-SQUAT aid to Haiti! But AMERICAN has (as always) immediately and generously stepped up to the plate.

    Just ONCE I would soooooo like the U.S. to sit out a disaster somewhere and see how well the world response without us.

  9. Crusade says:

    When you first step foot in that country you can feel the evil. I’ve experienced this place and have seen nothing but misery and confusion. Dead babies in trash dumps, chicken fighting, street gangs… They will never be able to rebuild that country, overpopulated, under resourced, and overly corrupt. In the 1808, they murdered all the white people in the country…
    In 2005, the The Haitian National Police murdered 50 people at a soccer match during half time, at that time it was #1 corrupt country in the world.

    This is why “tough love” is the only answer. I am not sure throwing money to this country is the answer. When a society cannot sustain itself, Is it our job to throw resource and money to it? At what point will our intervention into other countries stop?

  10. dbrusiee says:

    After we help get the dead buried and the injured treated I am not sure we should do much more. We have millions of Americans who do not have a good education or a job (I think these are related) and are renting tenaments in our inner cities. We have numerous cities that are not prepared for upcoming acts of nature such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes etc. We need to take care our own first and it is not being done no matter who we elect for president.

    • MasterPo says:

      Americans are always the MOST *generous* people in the world! This in spite of the world spitting in your faces on a daily basis and our [current] leaders smiling about it! :-(

      NTL, the hard reality is that if American doesn’t help then NOBODY WILL!

      $100-200 million is small potatoes compared to the BILLIONS upon BILLIONS the Messiah has spent so far in a mere 1 year with nothing to show for it!

      But I digress…

      However, this does illustrate a point I have tried to make before: Obama has spent sooooooooooooo much and put the U.S. soooooooooooo much into debt that now when a disaster strikes – even one here at home! – the idea of spending a “mere” several million$$ to help people start to balk at!

      • Rick Beagle says:

        You have lost your bloody mind. How soon we forget the mad spending by our Republican regime, and now that a Democrat is in power, suddenly you want to turn off the spigot despite comments warning what the repercussions of that action would be. Your only reason for hating Obama is because he is a Democrat.

        BTW SCOTUS ruling, sure like to see how you justify that one. The Bush regime just keeps on giving….

  11. CanadianGirl says:

    I am shocked at some of the things people have said.

    1) Of the countries that are well off, the US has a large population. This means higher revenue from taxes (even though the tax rate is lower, with a bigger population, means higher revenue), higher % of the wealthiest people in the world live in the US, and more people that can donate. So it’s true, the US will end up donating more than some other countries. But they also have larger resources than many countries. Many other countries governments have been stepping up and donating, and individuals have been donating. We all have to donate!

    2) I don’t really think shipping people off to another country will fix the problem. I am constantly hearing the immigration issues the US is having. And the attitude of many of its citizens regarding the illegal immigrates from Mexico coming in, or even the attitude people had of Katrina victims being sent to their cities. I couldn’t believe how heartless so many people were. Or how quick they are to talk without understanding the situation. I mean we were all immigrants once upon a time, thats how our ancestors got here right?
    Really the idea of having to relocate should be something American’s can understand. I think for the most part American’s have a VERY strong sense of nationalism. Think about when jobs get shipped over seas, I hear sooooooo much on the news about the outrage when that occurs. It makes sense in an economic sense…which ever country has the economic advantage to produce the goods or supplies, should make them. And each country would make or produce what their economic advantage is (in theory of course). This is a small principle of nationalism…and I am not trying to start an argument on whether or not this is something that should be done. But remember how much outrage occurs in the news when jobs go over sees? Now imagine some disaster has occurred in the States, and the solution was to move you guys to Europe. I can just imagine the uproar that would go along with that. Do you adapt to the culture in the new Country? Do you keep your own culture? Do you learn the new language? A large % of Haitians are illiterate…they don’t have the same job skills as people that come from a ‘have’ country…so what do they do for work? History has shown us what happens with this…cultures collide and start religious wars, and kill each other. Shipping the survivors of Haiti to another country is NOT the right answer.

    3) To compare the suffering in Haiti to the Americans that do not have a good job or education is like comparing a used car to a broken bicycle (with no chance of getting repaired). Not to diminish to the people suffering in the ‘have’ countries that are having a difficult time during this recession. But all of our ‘have’ countries have resources set up to help with these people. A huge percentage of Americans have had the opportunity to grow up in a country that gives free access to education (up until grade 12), and this gives you the opportunity to develop skills to get a job and make a living for yourself. I do recognize that there are parts of America that do not have the same access for whatever reason, be it gangs or poverty neighbourhoods. And these people do need to be helped. But again, this is an issue that is being looked at, and trying to be fixed. The same thing is going on in Canada, and all over the world. The people in Haiti (the poorest country in the world), have limited access to education, many schools you have to pay for just to get a basic education. There was already so many orphans, and now there will be so much more. Schools & hospitals have been destroyed, people are having to sleep in the streets. There is no food or water, there is nothing. Doctors are having to operate without general anesthetic…parts of limbs are being removed while children are awake (I know even when I got something as simple as my wisdom teeth out I got put to sleep!!) This country DOESN’T have money! How can we expect them to rebuild on their own? What is going to happen to all these orphaned children without parents? What will this country look like in 30 years if we don’t help? Do some research people…I knew nothing about Haiti until this happened! But they clearly needed our help before the earthquake, and now they need it even more!

    3) I think the rebuilding plan needs to take into consideration how some of the buildings have been built in places that have a large number of earthquakes (Japan and California). Their buildings are designed differently and while they aren’t 100% earthquake proof, I do believe they fair considerable better. Can you imagine if all of the people that lived in earthquake zones had to be relocated? That’s a lot of provinces, states, and countries. What about flood zones? Fire areas? Tornado’s? Are we going to relocate everyone? Or just the poor countries people don’t give a damn about?

    I think I read somewhere that Haiti will most likely need $2-3 billion a year for 5 years. That’s a total of $10-15 billion.

    China and India have over 1 billion people each, US has 300 million, Canada (where I am from, is ranked 36) and has 30 million people. If we all donated a few dollars, it would help! And really how much will be miss that money? It would go to such better use there.

    I think we all (global, not just Americans’) need to come together and do what we can to help. If donating means you can’t pay your rent…then you can’t donate this month…but many next month, or when you get your tax refund? But if it means you donate $20 instead of going to a movie…then donate!!!

    We are all people. And if this kind of disaster happened to you or your family or friends, you are going to wish people would help.

    I am sure I offended some people with this message. No need to respond in hate…I will not be coming back to read it. Instead put some positive vibes out in the universe that whatever your bitching about, AND what I am saying will have positive outcomes. No use putting out negative energy, it doesn’t solve anything!

    P.S. I am VERY impressed with the Hope for Haiti Now fundraiser the States has put together. I really think it will get everyday people to donate!!!

  12. James says:

    Bringing them to the US is a terrible idea. We have enough crime as it is, which this would only add to it, since there level of education is so low. Also, AIDS is rampant in thier population, last I checked, you can not nor you should not be allowed in this country if you have any type of disease.

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