Support SF BayView
Donate or Subscribe to SF Bay View
Follow Us Twitter Facebook

Humanitarian relief in Haiti: Some shocking facts

January 30, 2010

by News Bureau

Is this what humanitarian aid looks like? People can’t eat or drink guns; doctors can’t use them to save lives. Out of every dollar spent on U.S. “aid” to Haiti, 33 cents go to the U.S. military, while only 9 cents pay for food and another 9 pay for food transportation.
The U.S. government dispatched more than 12,000 troops and $379 million in “aid to Haiti” after the earthquake. As many as 250,000 people have died. The train of misery is growing daily.

The phrase “aid to Haiti” might not be entirely accurate.

For every dollar spent in the “aid” effort, 33 cents pay for the U.S. military force that has taken control of the country. In contrast, the U.S. government is spending only 9 cents of every dollar on food and another 9 cents to transport the food. The military expenditures in Haiti are on top of the annual U.S. military budget.

The statistical breakdown of how U.S. earthquake aid is being spent was undertaken by a review conducted by the Associated Press and reported by AP on Jan. 27. AP also reports that Haitians are being hired at meager wages to assist the U.S. efforts.

“The Obama administration is putting 5 cents of each dollar into efforts to pay survivors to work. One program already in place describes paying 40,000 Haitians $3 per day for 20 days to clean up around hospitals and dig latrines,” according to the AP report.

The U.S. military immediately took control of the airport and ports in Haiti following the earthquake. The U.S. priority was to land contingents of what will be a 12,000-plus military force. This prevented humanitarian aid from reaching Haiti.

After not being able to land for days, the World Food Program was finally allowed access to the airfield, according to another report in the New York Times. The group had been denied access to the airstrip for days so that U.S. troops and military equipment could land.

The $379 million that the U.S. is spending on Haiti is less than the cost of one day spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan occupation. That number is approximately $480 million each day.

This story first appeared on, the website of the Party for Socialism and Liberation.

6 thoughts on “Humanitarian relief in Haiti: Some shocking facts

  1. Mike Humphreys

    I just don’t understand why some organizations such as yours fill compelled to continue to propagate the lies and half-truths about our military’s effort in Haiti. First let me dispel the myth about the U.S. military halting the aide effort that you have reported as fact: U.S. Military air traffic controllers DID take responsibility for air traffic into Haiti because no one else could or would; the Government of Haiti maintained responsibility for slots on the degraded airfield; U.S. Military flights made up exactly 27 percent of all air traffic arriving into Haiti; of that 27 percent, those massive cargo planes, second only to one Russian air cargo craft, carried thousands of pounds of food, medical materials, and civilian aid workers and NGOs to support the relief effort; of the 12,000 U.S. servicemembers on the ground, many were doctors, engineers, air traffic controllers, etc, and of course the security elements to maintain order, that MINUSTA was not, so relief could make it to where it was most needed. Through all their incredible efforts, austere living conditions, and incredible challenges, unprofessional and inaccurate media like yourself continue to belittle their work. Try spending a little time down there and learn the facts behind the numbers next time. And ask the people of Haiti who they most trust to help them in their time of need.

  2. Malaika H. Kambon

    1 February 2010

    In what cave have you been living?

    We ask people on the ground in Haiti 25/7 what is going on. Perhaps you can speak about why it is mandated that those service members, ‘many’ of whom you claim are ‘doctors, engineers, air traffic controllers, etc.’ are also armed to the teeth?

    Haitians certainly do not understand what type of relief aid entails shooting alleged ‘looters’ with rubber bullets, and throwing pitiable amounts of relief aid on the ground, and turning away planes full of medical supplies and portable hospitals w/ operating theaters so that they must endure amputations w/ hack saws and no anesthetics.

    Haitians certainly do not understand what type of relief aid entails sending soldiers with guns who do nothing to help them, and in fact are afraid of them because their handlers (Clinton/Bush/Obama) are terrified of FANMI LAVALAS.

    Haitians certainly do not understand what type of relief aid entails genocide: which is what it is when U.S. military ‘weather weapons’ are utilized to cause an earthquake that kills hundreds of thousands of people; then sends in troops to shoot traumatized, grief stricken, hungry, thirsty people for trying to survive under conditions that are far worse than the ‘austere living conditions’ you describe that the soldiers are living under.

    Haitians certainly do not understand what type of ‘relief’ aid entails bringing in the very people who destabilized Haiti (U.S./French/Canadian/UN MINUSTAH troops) but refusing to allow their twice democratically elected president into the country.

    Haitians certainly do not understand what type of ‘relief’ aid entails criminalizing and demonizing the very people who need the help; and diverting most of the aid away from those with the most need in favor of assisting UN troops.

    Haitians certainly do not understand what type of ‘relief’ aid provides them no relief – no water, no food, very little to no coordinated search efforts for Loved Ones, no clean hospital conditions, no clothing, no stable shelters – and the ever present dangers of having their orphaned children snatched away over the DR borders w/o passports or papers, by so-called ‘well meaning’ U.S. whites from whatever dominations, Portuguese, and Dominicans.

    And Haitian people are truly perplexed at the so called relief efforts of heavily armed soldiers who (a) do not know why they are in Haiti, and (b) truly believe that they are not there to save lives but to secure perimeters.

    Theft of natural resources, theft of human lives, and the attempted theft of sovereignty, and dignity…this would not be happening to a white country in need.

    The corporate media in Haiti is a bigger disaster than the unnaturally caused earthquake.

    The relief aid offers no relief.

    The people’s pleas are being ignored.

    I hope that people don’t want to be like you, Mike, for you are clueless.

    The next time that the U.S. military decides to cause an earthquake to kill a million people just so that they can steal their oil, ask them not to do so until you’re sitting on the fault that they decide to disrupt.

    If you’re capable of surviving for 15 days or more buried under tons of rubble, terrified, injured, with no food or water, through countless after shocks when millions and millions of dollars of aid is reputedly pouring in, but is being turned away; and search and rescue teams are called off so that any surviving people can be herded into the country side, so that the land that your house used to sit on can be confiscated for use by some foreign superpower – then you can speak about trust, Mike.

    Until then, Mike, be quiet.

    Maybe then you’ll hear the screams of those who are dying unnecessarily because a greedy, rich, superpower seeks to take everything they have just because they’ve decided that being Black is a crime, and that they are therefore entitled.

    War Without Terms,

  3. Danielle Nierenberg

    Wanted to make sure you saw this recent post about Haiti and agriculture on the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet blog. All the best, Danielle Nierenberg,

    Looking to Agriculture to Help Rebuild in Haiti

    A recent article in the New York Times highlights the critical role that agriculture will play in rebuilding Haiti in the wake of the devastating earthquake of January 2010.

    Food security is not a new problem in Haiti, and development organizations such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme, as well as nongovernmental organizations like Heifer International and Oxfam, have been forced to halt food programs in the country as these groups themselves attempt to recover from the disaster.

    Before the quake, FAO alone was implementing 23 food and agriculture projects in Haiti, hoping to improve access to food in the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Prior to the disaster, an estimated 46 percent of Haiti’s population was undernourished, and chronic malnutrition affected 24 percent of children under five.

    Right now the most urgent need is to get food and water to millions of people in the capital city of Port au Prince and elsewhere in Haiti. But as the country looks to the future, the need for sustainable sources of food, such as those we are learning about in sub-Saharan Africa, is more important than ever.

  4. Malaika H. Kambon

    1 February 2010

    I recognize that Haiti, like AFRIKANS everywhere, once had not only the capacity to feed and clothe herself, but even enslaved, fed and clothed the economy of all of Europe, such that Europe flourished for centuries.

    This global capacity of AFRIKANS has been systematically abrogated and / or destroyed by the behemoth of imperialism that cares nothing for Haiti, or AFRIKANS, or AFRIKA.

    Thus, I have little or no feeling for ‘development organizations, NGO’s, etc. who come in to ‘help Haiti recover,’ as though Haiti and / or Haitians are the problem.

    Haitians are not the problem… (with the exception of a tiny Haitian elite that collaborates in its own country’s oppression)

    A short demonstration of this is proven in the piece below.

    by Dr. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, (true) President of Haiti

    “… Many in the ‘first world’ imagine the amount of money spent on aid to developing countries is massive. In fact, it amounts to only .03% of GNP of the industrialized nations….So, we find that aid does not aid.

    The little finger knows that she is sinking deeper into misery each day, but all the while, the thumb is telling her that profits are increasing, economies are growing and he is ouring millions of dollars of aid into her country. Whose profit, economy? What aid? The logic of global capitalism is not logical for her. We call this economic schizophrenia.

    The history of the eradication of the Haitian Creole pig population in the 1980s is a classic parable of globalization. Haiti’s small, black, Creole pigs were at the heart of the peasant economy. An extremely hearty breed, well adapted to Haiti’s climate and conditions, they ate readily-available waste products, and could survive for 3 days without food. 80-85% of rural households raised pigs; they played a key role in maintaining the fertility of the soil and constituted the primary savings bank of the peasant population. Tradidiotnally a pig was sold to pay for emergencies and special occasions (funerals, marriages, baptisms, illnesses and, critically, to pay school fees and buy books for the children when school opened each year in October.)

    In 1982 international agencies assured Haiti’s peasants their pigs were sick and had to be killed (so that the illness would not spread to countries to the North.) Promises were made that better pigs would replace the sick pigs. With an efficiency not since seen among development projects, all of the Creole pigs were killed over a period of 13 months.

    2 years later the new, better pigs came from Iowa. They were so much better that they required clean drinking water (unavailable to 80% of the Haitian population,) imported feed (costing $90 a year when the per capita income was about $130,) and special roofed pigpens. Haitian peasants quickly dubbed them “prince a quatre pieds,” (4 footed princes.) Adding insult to injury, the meat did not taste as good. Needless to say, the repopulation program was a complete failure. One observer of the process estimated that in monetary terms Haitian peasants lost $600 million dollars. There was a 30% drop in enrollment in rural schools, there was a dramatic decline in the protein consumption in rural Haiti, a devastating decapitalization of the peasant economy and an incalculable negative impact on Haiti’s soil and agricultural productivity.

    The Haitian peasantry has not recovered to this day.

    Most of rural Haiti is still isolated from global markets, so for many peasants the extermination of the Creole pigs was their first experience of globalization.

    Today, when the peasants are told that ‘economic reform’ and privatization will benefit them they are understandably wary. The state-owned enterprises are sick, we are told, and they must be privatized. The peasants shake their heads and remember the Creole pigs…”

    EYES OF THE HEART: Globalization: A Choice Between Death and Death; pages 13-15.

    War Without Terms,

  5. Powwah

    SISTAH KAMBON, you are so correct in your assesment ,this first afrikan free republic has been underfire from this repressive regime of U.S.military/political aggression since its inception . The MAAFA for the third time!!!!!!!!

  6. Infamous

    I was waiting for one of these relief planes to land in Port-au-Prince on January 14th, one of those planes that were refused the landing by the US military, running the airport at that time.
    Almost 24 hours later the plane finally has landed, medical teams got to the ground, relief cargo was discharged, evacuees and wounded boarded, and the plane took off immediately for Guadeloupe.
    It was a huge luxurious plane designated for aid by a Portuguese holiday charter company. Gosh, that fancy aircraft looked so much out of place there! But it was huge, the crew was excellent and they served well their mission.
    I was not angry, I was very grateful for all the help that was there – to Portuguese business people who committed their aircraft for humanitarian; to the French doctors who came; to the plane crew who volunteered to go and chose to stay close to wounded children aboard, seeing some of them die during the flight; to the US Army – yes, to the US Army that delayed our plane! – who provided the means to land the planes. Thank you for your imperfect help, it really helped!


Leave a Reply

BayView Classifieds - ads, opportunities, announcements