After a devastating earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, governments and foundations from around the world pledged more than $9 billion to help get the country back on its feet.
Only a fraction of the money ever made it. And Haiti’s President Michel Martelly says the funds aren’t “showing results.”
Roughly 350,000 people still live in camps. Many others simply moved back to the same shoddily built structures that proved so deadly during the disaster.
Martelly says the relief effort is uncoordinated and projects hatched from good intentions have undermined his government. “We don’t just want the money to come to Haiti. Stop sending money,” he tells Shots. “Let’s fix it,” he says, referring the international relief system. “Let’s fix it.”
Disaster specialist Dr. Tom Kirsch from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine puts it another way: "We could have written a check to everyone in Haiti for — I don’t know — $10,000 a piece, which would support them forever rather than the way we spent it."
So where did all that money go?
NPR's Jason Beaubien got to put that question to reporter Jonathan Katz, author of the new book The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster. He was Haiti bureau chief for The Associated Press at the time of the quake.
Here are highlights from the conversation, edited lightly for length and clarity.
Photography by NPR’s David Gilkey.