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Debate about the effectiveness of aid following the earthquake and cholera crises

An article by Jean-Marc Biquet (MSF), entitled “Haiti: Between Emergency and Reconstruction: an inadequate response”, which was published in International Development Policy, was very critical of the international assistance provided following the last two major crises: the earthquake of 2010 and the cholera epidemic. The article points at the gaps between the promises of the international community immediately after the earthquake, the expectations of the population and what was actually done. The commitment to “Build Back Better” was more a slogan than a promise of a unique chance for a new start (Oxfam, 2010). The author also criticizes the effectiveness of the coordination mechanisms which proved to be particularly ineffective during the response to the cholera epidemic: “Some 80% of patients received in the first three months were taken in by two actors which were not part of this Health Cluster ‘coordination system’, namely the Cuban medical brigades and MSF (the remainder were treated by twenty-odd organisations, including the Haitian Health Ministry)”.

Andrea Binder, the Associate Director of the Global Public Policy Institute, then responded to this criticism in an article entitled “Is the humanitarian failure in Haiti a system failure?” in which she contested the idea that the failings of aid in Haiti were attributable to the system itself.