Estonian Experts Evaluated Use of Humanitarian Aid in Haiti
Eestlased Eestis 06 Jul 2010  EWR
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Estonian humanitarian aid experts assessed the distribution of humanitarian aid in post-earthquake Haiti along with experts from Ireland, the USA and Canada.

During the mission, which took place six months after the earthquake in Haiti, the activities of donors as well as the UN and other humanitarian aid-providing organisations was evaluated in the context of the principles of distributing humanitarian aid. The experts also examined whether the aid answered the actual needs of the people, whether the receivers of aid were included in the planning and distribution of aid, and whether donors supported Haiti flexibly and quickly enough.

Estonian Foreign Ministry development co-operation division diplomat Priit Turk, who participated in the mission, confirmed that the international organisations on site are generally satisfied with the developments thus far, although considering the approaching hurricane season the humanitarian situation in Haiti could deteriorate rapidly. “The camp built in Haiti with Estonia’s help is also functioning well—we received many words of praise when we were there,” Turk noted. “Since nearly six months have already passed since the earthquake, we also investigated how the transition from humanitarian aid to reconstruction activities is going. Co-ordination among the UN and other aid organisations was evaluated separately during the mission.”

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that the UN’s strong co-ordination capabilities are important to Estonia and to other international donors. “Estonia is satisfied with its own quick reaction in helping to alleviate the disaster situation after the Haiti earthquake in January. Our aid was quick and fulfilled a need, and this was acknowledged on the international level. This is one of the reasons why Estonia can continue to be more and more active in the co-ordination of international humanitarian aid,” stated Paet. “Estonia continues to give more attention to the effectiveness of international co-operation and aid, which our experts went to Haiti to evaluate,” he added.

“Our experience in Haiti confirmed one again that aid reaching all those who need it depends first and foremost on the readiness of various organisations to work together and co-ordinate their activities,” added Kadi Metsandi, a diplomat at Estonia’s representation in Geneva, where the co-ordination of humanitarian aid on a global level is directed.

Within the course of the mission, the experts visited UN agencies and International Red Cross representations both in the capital Port au Prince as well as in the epicentre of the earthquake Leogane, where about 80% of the buildings were destroyed or damaged. The implementation of projects geared towards providing shelter, child protection, and sanitary issues was also examined. Participants in the mission lived in the same lodging and working conditions as UN humanitarian workers in the camp that Estonia helped to build and get running.

The mission lasted from 27 June to 4 July. Estonia was invited to join the mission because it is currently a co-chairman, along with Ireland, of the Good Humanitarian Donorship Group that unites 36 humanitarian aid-donating nations. The members of the Good Humanitarian Donorship Group have approved the principles and good practice of humanitarian donorship. The goal of the group is to spread these principles. The results of the Haiti evaluation group will be discussed and presented at the yearly meeting of the Good Humanitarian Donorship Group in New York on 16 July 2010.

Estonia has allocated a total of 6 841 309 kroons (437 238 EUR) to support Haiti. Humanitarian aid makes up 5 667 309 kroons of this sum. Of the humanitarian aid, 2.5 million kroons were donated by Estonia through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The remaining humanitarian aid sum went towards sending members of the Estonian Rescue Team to Haiti. For the long-term reconstruction of the nation, Estonia has contributed 100 000 dollars (1 174 000 kroons) through the Wold Bank’s multi-donor trust fund and UNICEF.

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