The 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12 proved to be horribly destructive – killing hundreds of thousands of people and leaving 1.2 million more displaced. International rescue and relief efforts were substantial, with hundreds of relief agencies around the world sending assistance. Despite these efforts, however, the destruction of infrastructure during the quake made it difficult to get aid to the people who needed it most.
Elizabeth Ferris, a senior fellow and co-director of the Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement, notes that strengthening Haiti’s government, supporting the country’s community groups, and following the lead of the United Nations are all vital to providing an effective humanitarian response to the disaster. In a live web chat on Wednesday, February 24, Ferris discussed the current relief efforts, the future of Haiti, and the safety and security of those displaced by the earthquake. David Mark, senior editor at POLITICO, moderated the discussion.