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March 5, 2010; Associated Press | On one hand, the outpouring aid for victims of the January 12 Haitian earthquake has been steady and generous. American donations alone have topped $1 billion. On the other hand, a number of the country’s leaders are unhappy with how the aid is being delivered and angry that they have little or no say how it is being used. Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told the Associated Press, “The NGOs don’t tell us … where the money’s coming from or how they’re spending it. Too many people are raising money without any controls, and don’t explain what they’re doing with it.” U.N. and U.S. officials say they are closely monitoring NGOs that receive funds. Groups receiving money are required to report to the the U.S. Agency for International Development every two weeks detailing how they are using these funds and whether they are in keeping with their plans. The top U.N. official in Haiti acknowledges that the reason money is bypassing the government is largely a problem that the international aid community shares responsibility for making. “We complain because the government is not able to (lead), but we are partly responsible for that,” said U.N. Assistant Secretary-General of Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet. For 50 years, Haiti’s government has been kept weak and ill prepared to deal with disaster because the international community chose instead to work with outside organizations. As the AP notes, “the Haitian government has gone through three prime ministers in two years, had a president overthrown in 2004 and was already helpless to rebuild from hurricanes and riots in 2008. It lost nearly all its major buildings and much of its staff in the quake.” Meanwhile, as the finger pointing goes on, so does the need for even more aid. There still aren’t enough tents and tarps to shelter the homeless, and while emergency food rations have flowed into the country, it will be a long while before people will be able to feed themselves again.—Bruce Trachtenberg