World’s Response To Haiti A 'Disgrace' Says Concern CEO

Andrew McConnell/Concern Worldwide
Concern Worldwide’s CEO, Dominic MacSorley, recently visited Haiti to see the devastation — and Concern’s response — firsthand. As the death toll from Hurricane Matthew continues to rise, he said, “Nobody should be dying for a lack of money."

MacSorley, who was recently in Haiti working alongside the Concern team as they distribute essential aid, urged donors around the world to “wake up” and meet the UN’s flash appeal for $120 million after it emerged that only 20 percent has so far been donated nearly two weeks since the disaster.

Speaking from Haiti — where 1.4 million need immediate aid and the death toll continues to rise — MacSorley said, “Nobody should be dying for a lack of money."

“Despite the logistical challenges, this is a country that we have access to. There is no war, no bombs dropping, and no excuses. The appeal must be met. It is a disgrace that there has not been a more robust response, particularly from major donors," he added.

“The Irish Government’s Irish Aid program for overseas development has been very responsive. Within hours of the crisis they released supplies in Panama to be airlifted for us to distribute and I welcome their recent announcement of the additional funding of $1.65 million for the overall response in Haiti. But the donors with the deepest pockets are failing Haiti and need to step up," urged MacSorley. 

“This appeal is urgent, but ultimately we need to get out of this cycle of chaotic crisis response and begin to seriously invest in building the resilience of poor communities to withstand disasters better, thereby saving lives and ultimately saving the massive transaction costs of emergency responses. Haiti is typical of short-sighted international development budgets where less than 40 cents in every $100 goes to prevention and disaster risk reduction," he remarked. 

Concern Worldwide CEO Dominic MacSorley at a warehouse where essential supplies are being loaded for distribution

Concern Worldwide CEO, Dominic MacSorley, at a warehouse where essential supplies are being loaded for distribution to those affected by Hurricane Matthew on the island of La Gonâve. Photo: Kieran McConville

MacSorley, who was one of the first aid workers in Haiti in 2010 after an earthquake struck killing over 300,000 people, praised the Concern team of 110 staff on the ground in Haiti, who are led by Country Director Nellie Kingston.

The immediate focus of Concern’s relief efforts is cholera prevention in the capital Port-au-Prince and providing emergency relief kits to thousands of families on the impoverished Haitian island of La Gonâve — an hour’s boat ride from the mainland — where the storm has wiped out homes and crops along the coastline.

Official figures coming from the UN in Haiti show that 2.1 million people are affected by the hurricane in a country with a population of 10.1 million. A massive 1.4 million people (or 13 percent of the population) require immediate aid and assistance over the next three months.

It is feared that the death toll could exceed 1,000 people and there are also huge concerns that there could be a significant cholera epidemic given the grave conditions people are surviving in.

Already there are reports of over 510 cases of cholera and Concern will be focusing its relief efforts to prevent more people from getting the waterborne disease.