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Mar 10 2010

Reflections on Haiti: Part I

By Joel Thomas

Topics: Homeland SecurityResponse

Haiti teaches us that when humanity is hemorrhaging, the world cares and is willing to commit extraordinary amounts of resources to help in the time of need – this inspires me deeply. Haiti also teaches us that many of the stakeholders in the emergency/disaster response community (e.g. governments, multi-laterals, NGOs, faith-based organizations) have not yet figured out how to communicate effectively and coordinate resources.

The message we are sending? Haiti, the world has heard your cry but we haven’t yet figured out how to work together to help get you all the resources and services you need…please be patient but don’t wait on us too long because unless a coordinated team of leaders step up to address these issues and take on the recovery and rebuilding of your nation, there will be slow and limited change in the near future…

The international community can’t afford to continue business as usual. There is a need to re-orient the way business is done so that disaster response and emergency services stakeholders do not continue to operate solely in the silos of self-indulgence, but instead re-invigorate the missional focus that seeks to assist those communities in need in the most thoughtful and sustainable way possible.

I recognize there are microcosmic examples of excellence in this regard. Yet I have not found a broad and coordinated stakeholder coalition that is actually implementing lessons learned and best practices from previous disasters at all levels.

At the end of the day, we need to work past these issues and prioritize better coordination of global aid – the affected populations are depending on it. In Part II and Part III of this blog, I will discuss a few recommendations and suggest a path forward.

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