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As UN Calls for Haiti Aid, Many Champion Local Groups Over Red Cross

(COMMON DREAMS) Nadia Prupis, October 16, 2016 — As Haiti begins to recover from Hurricane Matthew, one of the worst storms to hit the Caribbean nation in decades, concerns are growing over public health risks and the ways in which foreign aid may interfere with relief efforts.

The death toll from Matthew is currently estimated to be at least 1,000 people, many of whom have had to be buried in mass graves, Reuters reported this week. United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon on Monday called for $120 million in assistance for Haiti, which is now facing a cholera outbreak at a time when the hurricane’s destruction has left many villages difficult to reach.

“Tensions are already mounting as people await help. A massive response is required. UN teams are working with local officials to assess needs,” Ban said.

However, the legacy of foreign aid in Haiti has left many residents fearful of large organizations like the American Red Cross (ARC) descending on the impoverished island. As Pro Publica and NPR revealed in a joint investigation last year, when Haiti was hit with a devastating earthquake in 2010, the ARC raised half a billion dollars in aid and built a grand total of six new homes.

Many observers, including award-winning Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat and Haiti-based NGO expert Mark Schuller, are urging those eager to support Matthew relief efforts to donate to local grassroots groups instead of the ARC and other massive organizations. Danticat listed a handful of groups in a Facebook post over the weekend, including the Gaskov Clerge FoundationFondation Aquin Solidarite, the Three Little Flowers CenterParadis des Indiens, and Project Saint Anne, among others.

Source: As UN Calls for Haiti Aid, Many Champion Local Groups Over Red Cross | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community