11 January 2013

Katz Talks Haiti Relief with NPR

AP reporter Jonathan Katz was in his home outside of Port au Prince when a the massive earthquake struck in Haiti. His new book, “The Big Truck That Went By: How The World Came To Save Haiti And Left Behind A Disaster" recounts the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and the ensuring relief and recovery effort by Haiti and the international community.

Katz spoke with Robin Young on Boston NPR station WBUR's program Here and Now. One part of the discussion touches on the initial coordination challenges that were hampered by a great outpouring of people sending stuff.
People were just sort of doing whatever seemed right, or whatever their own protocols were, or whatever they had done in some very different circumstances in a very different part of the world.” [Robin: "Boxes of Danish hand puppets came!"] “You can imagine somebody in Denmark thinking these poor children, I see the pictures, they’re crying, if only there was something there that could bring them some comfort. And that’s a great notion, but it doesn’t really work unless you’re coordinating – someone can actually sort out the hand puppets from the food from the bandages. It’s very obvious in hindsight, but some of these things were even very clear at the time. Nobody was really taking the time to stop and think about it.
Listen to the full conversation:

Disclosure: Katz and I co-authored an article in Foreign Policy last month.