Aid to Haiti Speeds Up, But Delays Plague Effort - Charles Forelle, Jose de Cordoba and Joe Lauria, Wall Street Journal.
One week after an earthquake pulverized Haiti, emergency supplies of water, food and medicine are beginning to reach large numbers of the country's desperate survivors. The number of U.S. troops in Haiti is expected to reach about 10,000 by midweek to help transport emergency supplies, provide security and clear debris. In the interim, however, residents have perished as distraught relatives awaited rescue teams and equipment that didn't arrive in time. Homeless people still camp on the streets, wondering why aid is taking so long. "They say there's help, but it doesn't arrive," said Henock Volmidor, an unemployed hotel worker, at a makeshift refugee camp on Monday. It wasn't supposed to be this way. After the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 that killed at least 230,000 people in 13 countries, the United Nations and emergency-relief organizations vowed to avert the disorganization that plagued that effort. More than 300 charities showed up in Aceh, Indonesia, with little coordination between them. The U.N. established a rapid-response system to coordinate the work of its agencies with nonprofit organizations, an online database to track assistance and avoid duplication, and a special emergency-relief fund that released $10 million within 24 hours of the Haitian quake. The U.N. quickly sent to Haiti an assessment team whose tasks included dispatching search-and-rescue squads that arrived from Iceland, China, France and the U.S. Meanwhile, what was left of the Haitian government put out an urgent request to the U.S. ambassador for help.