Nonprofit Newswire | The Aid Industry in Haiti

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January 26, 2010; The Lancet | More of our readers should read The Lancet, the remarkable 180-year-old British journal. Its coverage of international issues, generally related to medical and health issues, but frequently with much bigger implications, is really top-notch—and tough (just ask the Gates Foundation which took it on the chin in a very widely circulated article in The Lancet last year).  Do look at The Lancet’s editorial take on the disaster relief NGOs functioning in Haiti:

  • “International organisations, national governments, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are rightly mobilising, but also jostling for position, each claiming that they are doing the most for earthquake survivors.”
  • “Politicians and the media make easy targets for criticism. But there is another group involved in disaster relief, which has largely escaped public scrutiny—the aid sector, now undoubtedly an industry in its own right”
  • “But just like any other industry, the aid industry must be examined, not just financially as is current practice, but also in how it operates from headquarter level to field level. It seems increasingly obvious that many aid agencies sometimes act according to their own best interests rather than in the interests of individuals whom they claim to help.

We think the Lancet quotations speak for themselves.—Rick Cohen