VIDEO: Haiti “Tent” City is Mostly Cardboard – Exactly What Is USAID’s Definition of “Adequate Shelter?”

Posted on April 17, 2010

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In the first few weeks after the earthquake, President Preval made an impassioned plea to the international community for donation of tents to provide shelter for earthquake victims.

About a month later, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) put the word out to the NGO community that Haiti was “eating up” all of its money and that it could not promise that there would be enough funding to cover future worldwide disasters.  The NGO community read the tea leaves and realized that if it wanted to continue to feed at the USAID trough and avoid firing staff it would need to tighten its Haiti belt.  Immediately after USAID communicated its warning, the NGO community did an about face on tents.  Suddenly, tents were too big and too expensive.  The new recommendation for “adequate shelter” became the less expensive tarps — one to each homeless family.  Of course, as the preliminary “killer” rains have proven, the tarps provide insignificant protection.  After watching the following video, filled with cardboard hovels, you have to wonder if USAID issued yet another belt-tightening warning.