News today was that the Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief, John Holmes (no, not that John Holmes – let’s face it, that link was the reason you even wrote this post – eds.) wrote an email to his staff expressing his displeasure over a number of shortfalls in the relief effort in Haiti.
…there remain major unmet humanitarian needs, particularly in critical areas such as shelter, other NFIs, and sanitation.Regarding coordination, I was disappointed to find that despite my calls for the Global Cluster Lead Agencies to strengthen their cluster coordination capacity on the ground, very little progress has been made in this critical area.
We cannot, however, wait for the next emergency for these lessons to be learned. There is an urgent need to boost significantly capacity on the ground, to improve coordination, strategic planning and provision of aid.
I’m not really acquainted with the U.N. culture but this sounds pretty scathing in a bureaucratic sort of way.
Mark, on the ground in Haiti, has a different view of the letter.
A lot of UN people died here. We were decimated.
This is not even mentioned any more.
For the first week, everyone was running around shellshocked, with no working communications.
We lost friends, partners and children. Families were ripped apart.
We were victims. Yet we have not been allowed any time to grieve, to cope with our loss. We are not considered victims, despite our lives being traumatically disrupted. Would have been worth a mention, I would have thought.
That is a good point. The UN (and, I imagine many NGOs as well) are both victims and supposed to organize the recovery. Tough job for a group that went through something that traumatic and unexpected.