In this edition of the show Faiza Ahmed reviews the film; Haiti: Where did the money go, directed by Michele Mitchell.
The film attempts to ascertain why, despite tremendous and hitherto unseen levels of generosity on the part of the international community in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake (amounting to several hundred million dollars), today, more than two years on, many hundreds of thousands of Haitians are still living in temporary camps in conditions of absolute, gut-wrenching squalor, often devoid of food, water or even the most basic levels of sanitation.
Despite the purported “best intentions” of the many NGOs now working in Haiti, the film shows that a high percentage of the relief effort money donated is clearly not getting through to (or is not being spent on) the very people it was intended to help on the ground in Port-au-Prince.
The film’s message is a stark one: the huge amount of money raised has simply not done that much to relieve the misery of the earthquake survivors or improve their day-to-day quality of life, because of the way it has (or hasn’t) been administered.
The film reveals a sorry and at times rather sordid tale of NGO bureaucracy, incompetence and moral ambivalence.
In so doing, it functions as a savage indictment of the aid industry at large and raises a plethora of ethical quandaries associated with the giving of aid to disaster zones across the globe.