The earthquake in Haiti and its aftershocks have left Port-au-Prince in ruins, displaced an estimated two million people and injured or killed tens of thousands. Getting assistance to people affected by the earthquake has been agonizingly slow for the displaced Haitians and unusually complicated for humanitarian organizations. Unlike most recent natural disasters, the fact that the earthquake leveled most of the country’s capital city meant that in one stroke, national governmental offices, UN headquarters and the offices of most non-governmental organizations were destroyed. Why has it taken so much time to execute an effective response to the disaster in Haiti? How should human rights protections best be incorporated into the disaster response and relief operations? What are the challenges faced by the government, the population, and the relief workers in Haiti in the coming weeks and over the long-term?
On January 29, the Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement hosted a panel discussion on the relief efforts in Haiti. Panelists included Senior Fellow Elizabeth Ferris, co-director of the Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement; Allan Jury, director of U.S. Relations for the World Food Programme; William O’Neill, director of the Conflict Prevention Program at the Social Sciences Research Council; Bridget Rohrbough, public resource representative for Europe, Middle East, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean at Catholic Relief Services; and Major General Kip L. Self of the United States Air Force. Senior Fellow Kevin Casas-Zamora moderated the discussion.
After the program, panelists took audience questions.