Friday, January 22, 2010

Haiti Latest: Aid, Critiques and Spy Drones

It’s been a little over a week since the devastating earthquake in Haiti, yet some conservative commentators are already using the country’s long-standing problems with poverty as an excuse to call for the end of foreign development aid. In my latest post over at The Mantle, I take on the critics and ask why they don’t also discuss America’s role in causing Haiti’s endemic levels of poverty in the first place?

Meanwhile, if you’re wondering what nations have given in disaster relief to Haiti so far, the Associated Press has compiled this handy list. The grand total so far is estimated to be around $1 billion, with more than half of that total coming from the 27 nations of the European Union and another $130 million from the United States – the single largest contribution by any nation.

And the United States has been providing far more to Haiti than only money. According to’s Dangerroom blog, the US contribution to aid efforts has even included a high-flying spy drone. An Afghanistan-bound Global Hawk, which can fly up to 14 hours beaming back hi-definition images to ground controllers, was diverted to Haiti to take pictures of the devastated capital Port-au-Prince that are being used to assist in rescue and recovery efforts. The pictures included images of famous landmarks in Port-au-Prince, like the National Cathedral shown above, which is now little more than a rubble-filled shell. Unlike most Global Hawk images, the US Southern Command has taken the step of immediately declassifying all the pictures taken of Port-au-Prince so that they can be freely used by anyone who needs them.
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