Haiti officials refute Reuters reported 900 death toll, and are unhappy with how aid money is being spent
Posted by hougansydney.com on Saturday, October 8, 2016 Under: Haiti Hurricane Matthew
Some of the highest ranking Haitian officials, including Haiti's president Jocelerme Privert are refuting what they called " a grossly inflated" death toll reported by many international news agencies, in particular Reuters, which broke the news earlier this morning about the near 900 deaths in Haiti as a result of hurricane Matthew. Officials believe that some people may have ulterior motives in inflating the death toll.
Speaking to Haiti's oldest newspaper -118 years- Le Nouvelliste, Haiti's president Jocelerme Privert as well as the Minister of the interior Francois Anique Joseph, seem to be very dissatisfied to say the least, with how donated money is being spent and how aid are being coordinated in the country in the aftermath of the devastating storms. First, they said that their own report of 288 deaths is well below the estimated number of deaths reported by the international news agency and others.
" I don't know where they have found these numbers. Since natural disasters are used as business opportunities, there are effectively people who have the interest of inflating the numbers. They want to show that the situation is much worst to raise the funds." declared Anick Joseph.
" It does not surprise me that it haven't been 1.000 deaths" continued the minister. It won't be too late before they tell us that 1.000 have lost their lives in this hurricane. Which will allow them to collect $100 billions, who knows?"
Haitian president Jocelerme Privert, more subtle with his words, but still very critical and very clear on how aid money should be spent in the country in the weeks, months and years following the hurricane. "If a country or an organisation want to help Haiti in the context of post-Matthew, they should participate in the reconstruction of its infrastructures." According to the head of state, Haiti does not really need bottles of water, but aid to rebuild its potable water system. Also " do not bring us rice," said the president in the interview with Le Nouvelliste, " help us improve our irrigation canals for the production of rice."
The Haitian president wants to be clear that he does not want to give the impression that somehow Haiti doesn't want the water, rice or other aid donated, he welcome them and thanks everyone who have given. But he firmly believes that a better spending of donated money will be more beneficial in the long haul.
The damning comments of these officials give us an eye opening on the fight over who control the millions of aid money, currently happening behind the scenes in Haiti. The international community, NGOs fearing endemic corruption in Haiti want to be in charge of the money they and their citizens have donated. Haitian officials on the other hand have learned from the mismanagement of the billions of dollars that poured into Haiti when a crushing earthquake ravaged the country in 2010. The international community managed some 14 billion dollars that were made available for relief efforts and post-earthquake reconstruction, but it is clear that reconstruction efforts have all failed.