We are happy to report that Denise founder, René Aubry, has returned safely from his needs assessment trip to Haiti. After waiting nearly two weeks in order to allow medical personnel and relief to arrive, René began his journey. René travelled to Port au Prince and Leogane, the epicenter of the quake, to gain a clear assessment of damage and needs going forward in Haiti. From his conversations and experiences there, René highlights two major areas of need – organization and better targeted human resources. Although relief is increasingly arriving to people, there are too many examples of a lack of coordination and human resources delaying distribution of desperately needed items. René observed a poignant example of this as he watched a mass of people in line waiting for food aid. Unfortunately, the aid remained locked behind a fence, undistributed due to a lack of security personnel. Good intentions are simply not enough in situations of life and death. Tragic examples like this one, point to the need for aid processes to be better coordinated, implemented and efficient in responding to people’s most acute needs.
In addition to a lack of coordinated relief, the capacity of the Haitian government has been decimated by structural damage, deaths and officials leaving the country. The need for technical expertise and coordination is immense. In his letter from the assessment trip, René presents a future vision for Denise that will involve transitioning from a relief effort into an organization that can meet the needs for technical and logistical support in the rebuilding process. Please see Rene’s letter for information on what Denise has done in Haiti thus far and reflections on the future trajectory of this effort. What emerges clearly from Rene’s trip is that people’s needs are pressing, relief remains insufficient and a long-term process of rebuilding will require technical and human resources far beyond current capacities.