The reality is, as we watch our colleagues on the ground fight countless battles as the entire response grid loses the war, nothing further can be done without funding provided in a non-biased, transparent, and accountable way.
One of the key sociological observations of the entrenched hierarchical command and control bureaucracy, which includes our government, the Haitian government, UN, and the favored core of large NGOs, is continued siloing of information and further acquisition of funding and resources to "feed the beast", therefore perpetuating the enormous problem we now face. It is actually an indicator of a failed social system, as many others have noted. For those who study the collapse of societies, it is a classic indicator, where the impact and scope of the challenge-event becomes magnified.
This is a "war" best fought asymmetrically, with light, fast, and agile ground teams of those capable of starting IVs and "oh by the way" hand out educational material. The war for adequate water and sanitation was never a realistic prospect and remains a particularly unrealistic prospect now. This is due to the hundreds of years of ingrained cultural behavior that required counteraction.
We are most certainly at the point where the terrible triage of what communities will be supported versus not is being made… notice the deliberate use of the verb "is". The story of Gonaives is being played out silently in the mountains, where many of the communities have no phone. Meanwhile back in the original epicenter of St Marc, we have report in the Haiti MPHISE that clinics have run completely out of personnel and supplies, leaving many to die unassisted. There is now no more time to train Haitians to train others for many parts of northern and central Haiti. … Perhaps this may be done in the relatively nascent South.
The effort has shifted from one of response to one of recovery in many locations, and I find myself again asking the question of "what good has our country done here?" as I ponder the implied meaning of these events for disaster response in our own country. The story of Katrina is certainly being played out for the third time in Haiti. The second was the earthquake. Some in the HEAS, in a fit of despair and helplessness, believe this event to represent nothing more than a natural evolutionary process of population reduction.
I and about 25 members of our team walked away from a multi-million dollar effort funded by our government, compelled to do so by the bureaucratic behavior you see now. This action was preceded by our walking away from entrenched and stymied efforts to integrate national biosurveillance within a similar bureaucratic framework. On my way out the door, one government official referred to me as a "traitor". One thing is sure, I am certainly gaining an education as a Christian and American that the definition of "traitor" is certainly a political one, as is "The Right Thing To Do".
The analogy of "Normandy" is a good one, and one that should be answered immediately and non-ambiguously by deployment of our military. Trust that regardless of the political resistance we have witnessed, we will continue fighting until (if) the military arrives.