Lessons learned from Evaluations, Consequences and Recommendations for the Future of Swiss Humanitarian Aid
Haiti is one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere suffering from high levels of poverty, weak governance structures, organized crime and sporadic outbreaks of violence as well as an extreme vulnerability to almost annually occurring floods, hurricanes and related disasters. This weak socio-economic and political situation in Haiti has aggravated the destruction and the losses of the devastating earthquake, which stroke Haiti on the 12th January 2011 with a magnitude of 7.0). It can be considered as the most significant disaster since the Pakistan earthquake in 2005, requiring a large-scale multi-sectored international response. It is estimated that over 222’000 people have been killed and that almost one third of the Haitian population has been directly or indirectly affected by this natural catastrophe (IASC, p.1, 2010). The Haitian government lost 33% of its staff and 102 of the UN personal died, which severely constrained their response capacity.
This paper will firstly illustrate the socio-economic and political context of Haiti, both important determinants for the aggravation of the earthquake disaster and the emerging challenges for relief efforts taking place in the aftermath of the earthquake. Secondly, there will be a brief assessment of the earthquake’s impact and its consequences on the Haitian society and the state. It then addresses the international humanitarian and the SDCs response to the enormous earthquake in January 2010 in Haiti, outlining their main achievements and challenges encountered. Based on these findings, we will then propose recommendations for the improvement of the international humanitarian aid concerning the UN Cluster approach, and then in more detail for the SDCs humanitarian aid in light of future humanitarian crises.
The goal of this paper is therefore to clearly reveal weak instruments or areas in the multinational aid response and to make concrete suggestions in order to address these shortcomings. The conclusion will summarise our main points raised in the paper.
Lessons learned from evaluations, consequences and recommendations for the future of Swiss Humanitarian Aid.