Helping or Hurting?

Even if they go with the best of intentions, celebrities and high-profile politicians should think twice before taking a trip to Haiti, writes Kara C. McDonald at Foreign Policy. Citing the outsized resources necessary to accommodate visits from the likes of Bill Clinton (or Angelina Jolie, who arrives in the country today), McDonald argues that such appearances may do more harm than good in an already-strained nation and could encourage the rise of what she terms “disaster tourism.” Some, however have managed to strike the right chord with their trips, writes McDonald, such as Hillary Clinton, who chose to stay at the airport for her meeting with Haiti’s president, rather than making the logistically complicated trip into Port-au-Prince. Instead, McDonald says, those hoping to help should hold off for a few weeks, when attention will likely have faded from the relief efforts, but Haitians will still be in need.