In the last 48 hours we have been in touch – as much as communication breakdowns due to the storm have allowed – with allies in Haiti asking the most important of questions: what do YOU need? Secondly, and this will help us make sure that every dollar donated to us during this time is used most effectively, we are looking into what local resources are available which we might support rather than sending aid wildly and thus duplicating available local Haitian resources. The difficult issue is that the bridge at Petit Goave is down, and this is the major way that supplies reach the south. It might be that sending things by air is the only way. We will know soon. We would rather wait to hear absolute news than to send money without knowing exactly where its going and why. After the earthquake, countless tons of supplies were sent to Haiti and many of those supplies were essentially free/donated examples of products already grown, made, and manufactured in Haiti.
By sending free supplies without asking first what was available locally, many local producers found themselves undermined by the aid. In order to prevent this from happening, we are being careful and strategic. As news from Haiti unfolds, so will our action/reaction plan. We won’t be the first on the ground, and we won’t have the biggest response, but we will make sure that not one dollar donated is squandered on goodwill gestures that are disconnected from the reality of the situation and the needs and desires of the people. More soon.