Packer: How to Help Haiti

Disasters on the scale of the earthquake in Haiti “reveal something about the character of the societies in which they occur,” George Packer writes in The New Yorker. And the crisis in Haiti shows that its government had long been nearly non-functioning. The government is unable to bury the dead or save the living trapped in the rubble of collapsed buildings. If the rest of the world wants to prevent another disaster this size in the impoverished island nation, we can no longer administer “aid almost entirely through the slow drip of private organizations.” Foreign powers and aid agencies must focus their money on an ambitious plan to rebuild the Haitian state. “If this isn’t a burden that nations want to take on, so be it,” Packer says. “But to patch up a dying country and call it a rescue would leave Haiti forsaken indeed, and not by God.”