Haiti — struggling with “the development gap”

Street-view of the National Palace of Haiti, d...

Image via Wikipedia

This Wash. Post  article provides an unusually insightful explanation of the slow recovery process in Haiti.  Among the causes described are the extreme poverty, lack of a viable government prior to the disaster, lack of basic sanitation infrastructure, and the need to create a new organization to dispense funds honestly and with transparency.  See Funding delays, housing complexities slow Haiti rebuilding effort.

Robert Perito, a Haiti expert at the U.S. Institute of Peace, said the emergency response went well. “The reason for that is, we’re really good at it. . . . We have all this capacity, these wonderful teams that deploy. It’s nonpolitical. It’s humanitarian. There’s not a lot of decisions to be made.”

In contrast, reconstruction is all about deciding where and what to build. “This is a classic conundrum in development theory,” he said. “It’s called the development gap: How do you fill the gap between the emergency phase and the long-term development phase?

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