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Lara Smallman
Campaigner, film-maker, blogger (London, United Kingdom)

Self-taught film-maker interested in exploring human rights issues. See more on larasmallman.com.

Post

Haiti; a case in point

Published 01st April 2010 - 4 comments - 2417 views -

Image courtesy of CBC News

January 12th 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti's capital city, Port-au-Prince. We all know that. As for what happened next - we are all a lot less certain.

A general rule of thumb when it comes to the media; we see the moment tragedy strikes, rarely do we see its impact. However, Haiti is a case in point, in several ways:

Time passed by, but journalists' coverage did not, at least not quite as much as it usually does.

And so, Haiti isn't a distant memory, nor a forgotten one. Quite extraordinarily, it remains, three months on, in the public consciousness. Perhaps because of the sheer scale of the devastation - an estimated 150,000 killed. Perhaps because, even before all this, Haiti was struggling and a country with nothing having to endure such devastation was something the world simply could not ignore.  

Fortunately aid workers stuck around long after the reporters had gone. Appeals for donations continued, until this day - totally unlike previous catastrophes, which are forgotten just days later by the media.

Only today it was announced that the UN has pledged $10billion dollars to rebuild Haiti - incredibly, that's twice the sum requested by the country's President René Préval. After all this time, Préval, and the whole Haitian nation must be relieved. 

The doubling of aid is a very bold statement. Haiti's plight and needs have not only been noted, but the UN has taken heed and responded appropriately, sufficiently, and one could say, generously too. Moreover, this is a very promising sign for development as whole. I might even go as far as saying it's a good omen for the forthcoming UN session, who knows?

Whilst we may not have seen as much as the aftermath as we ought to, we might just see the rebuilding of Haiti. My hope is that at least a handful of journalists resist the pressure of looming deadlines and other calls of duty, and instead strive to show the world the meaning of aid.

 


Category: Crisis | Tags:


Comments

  • Tiziana Cauli on 01st April 2010:

    Hi Lara, I was hoping somebody would blog about the UN conference for Haiti reconstruction. It’s great that public opinion is still so focused on the aftermath of this tragedy, leading to a greater committment from governments. I only hope, though, that Haiti’s civil society gets more involved in the process,as the Haiti government is not widely trusted by the people and local institutions and organizations have already lamented their exclusion from relief and reconstruction operation due to the need to act quickly.


  • Lara on 01st April 2010:

    Hi Tiziana, it’s a chance for the President to regain trust and prove himself. Let’s see how the money gets spent..


  • Pierre-Anthony Canovas on 02nd April 2010:

    Hi Lara, good post. I agree with you that it is a good news Haiti will receive twice the money the president was expected. But about the journalists, it is not their fault, most of them wish they could stay longer. I met a month ago a crew of journalists from the French TV “TF1”. They just got back from Haiti because their newsroom wanted them here.

    Also, France 24 made an interesting webdocumentary about the earthquake. As you seem interested by the “image”, you should check that out.

    http://www.france24.com/en/20100214-haitian-earthquake-daily-life-web-documentary-france-24-prince-capital


  • Hieke van der Vaart on 05th April 2010:

    http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1977287,00.html


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