UN Draws Criticism Anew for Haiti Relief Work

The United Nations has yet again received flak for the lack of coordination of Haiti aid efforts, The New York Times reports.

“By all accounts, the leadership of the humanitarian country team is ineffectual,” said a report by Refugees International.

RI blamed U.N.’s shortcomings in coordinating with local organizations on aid delivery as well as establishing security for the rise in sexual abuse of women and girls living in camps, with some young girls exchanging sex for shelter.  

A similar assessment came out two weeks ago. Human Rights Watch reported three rapes linked to poor security in Haiti camps.

U.N. deputy humanitarian coordinator Catherine Bragg cited the extent of the devastation in Haiti and the death of 100 U.N. staff members, including high-level officials, as factors that hampered the initial aid efforts.

“It is the most complex humanitarian response we have ever had to deal with,” Bragg told NYT. “It would be very easy to make negative comments about how things are coordinated.”

Earlier, outgoing U.N. relief chief John Holmes called on U.N. staff members to improve aid coordination in the quake-hit country. He described U.N.’s response to the Jan. 12 disaster as uneven.

About the author

  • Eliza Villarino

    Eliza Villarino is an associate editor for Devex and leads the company's news team in Manila. She played a critical role in conceptualizing the Development Newswire. Prior to joining Devex in 2004, she has already published articles and news briefs for Internet media organizations and for the Institute for Ethics and Economic Policy at Fordham University in New York. She earned her bachelor's in political science and master's in public affairs from the University of the Philippines. Eliza is a member of Mensa Philippines.