First, we need to understand the differences between the Haitian catastrophe and that of Nepal. The infographic at the end of the article summarizes the key differences between Haiti and Nepal. Haitian economy is very similar to Nepal, both in per-capita terms and the size. However, the total number of fatalities in Haitian quake was over 200,000 whereas in Nepal the number is around 8000. One also has to taken into account the fact that the population of Nepal is roughly three times than that of Haiti. So, it is safe to assume that Haitian event received deserved, for the lack of a better word, more aid than of Nepal. It is not fair to compare the volume of aid that Haiti received to that received by Nepal as the scale of the devastation was different. However, Nepal needs to learn a lesson from the failures of international organizations in Haiti.
Case in point, Red Cross had its most successful fundraising ever, raising half a billion dollars in the aftermath of Haiti catastrophe. After five years, the sensational NPR report says ‘’It’s difficult to know where it went.’’ to describe the legacy of the controversial Red Cross efforts in Haiti. NPR and Prorepublica’s journalists found that the charity has built just six permanent homes, far lower that its claims of helping over 130,000. Furthermore, this donation helped Red Cross clear their hundreds of millions of dollars in deficit. The organization’s claim that ‘’91% of the money went to the Haitians’’ now seems spectacularly hollow.
According to the same report, Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern unveiled rather ambitious plans to " develop brand new communities." None has ever been built. Whereas, the Red Cross kept bragging about having helped millions of Haitians ‘’get back on their feet.’’ Red Cross is only one of the hundreds of international organizations who raised millions of dollars for Haiti but have failed to deliver their promises. This brings us to the question of the lessons that Nepal should learn.
Nepalese government needs to prove its transparency to the citizens and international community. Despite its inefficiencies, Nepalese government is best suited to best use the foreign aid and disaster relief materials. Ironically, Haitian government sent $1 million to Nepalese government last week as earthquake relief aid. As Haitian scandal has shown us, foreign NGOs are grossly inefficient with dubious transparency. Red Cross is requesting for $93 million more in assistance for Nepal. The government should pressure these agencies to be accountable for every dollar that they raise. However, they should clean up their own act and lead with example by using forensic accounting to audit the national relief fund.