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Aid Slow to Arrive in Haiti After Hurricane Matthew


Remote locations suffering the most

Aid has been arriving in Haiti--albeit slowly--since Hurricane Matthew slammed into its southern region, devastating the area and destroying homes, villages, and crops. Other regions of the nation were also impacted, but the area suffering the worst damage includes towns such as Les Cayes and Jeremie, which were almost wiped off the map.

Much of the resulting devastation from the hurricane is being attributed to political corruption that prevents proper urban planning and infrastructure across the nation. Security is also a major concern for the majority of families impacted by the hurricane.

Residents are frustrated by the lack of available supplies and assistance to help them rebuild their homes or gain shelter, and many remain vulnerable more than a month after the devastating hurricane.

John Ging, Director of Operations for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said the flow of aid is good, but compared to the need, it'll never be enough.

Looting and violence prevalent

Desperation often leads to looting and violence when aid ships arrive to disburse supplies to area residents. Aid being sent to the impoverished and devastated areas is also reportedly often taken by Haitian officials for their own families and not distributed evenly among those in need.

"It is a good operation. It does need of course to speed up but it also needs to be done properly" -- John Ging, Director of Operations, UNOCHA

Ging also cited security concerns when agencies distribute aid and expressed his frustration at the looting and violence that occurs during the distribution process. Several other issues exist but the largest, by far, is funding.

Funding remains the major hurdle in coordinating the challenging logistics needed to deliver aid to remote locations. Ging believes that many of the G7 and G20 nations are not honoring their commitments for overseas development aid, resulting in a deficit in the funds needed to assist the struggling nation of Haiti.

As Ging pointed out, more than 400,000 individuals have received food assistance from the World Food Program following the hurricane, but at least four times as many people are still in need.

Kimberly Arsenault Kimberly Arsenault serves as an intern at the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency where she works on plan revisions and special projects. Previously, Kimberly spent 15 years in commercial and business aviation. Her positions included station manager at the former Midwest Express Airlines, as well as corporate flight attendant, inflight manager, and charter flight coordinator. Kimberly currently holds a master's degree in emergency and disaster management from American Public University.