Open Letter to the President of United States
January 29, 2010
Mr. Barack Obama
President of United States
Of America, on His Offices
The White House
Dear President Obama;
Today I want to take this opportunity to thank the entire world, especially you for the rapid response and your leadership intervention to the Haitians tragedy. I also want to thank all the American people who participate in Haiti relief mission. As we all know, Haiti has been severely hit on January 12, 2010 around 4:50 EST by a vibrant 7.3 magnitude earthquake that destroyed the Haitian Capital Port-au-Prince and its surroundings areas (Delmas, Petion –Ville, Bourdon, Kencoff, Carrefour, Leogane, Petit Goave, Jacmel, Croix des Bouquets, etc.) As we watching the news of the devastating earthquake on many Television stations, this severe earthquake killed hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. Also a sequence of powerful aftermath shocks make every day harder and a challenge to save thousands of the Haitian people who are already victims from this catastrophe.
My heart is dying when I watched on Television what is going on in my country of birth. My patriotism devotion also calls me to duty. In this moment my top priority is to go help my fellow citizen in Haiti. I am very concerned about this situation, I deeply want to get involved in the rescue mission, and I want to participate in the rebuilding of the new Haiti. Two days after the tragedy happened I emailed and contacted many organizations like Red Cross, CIDI, and UNDP, to volunteer my time to go help my fellow people. I thought that it was something I can simplify with just a phone call away, but now I understand that I would just be involved on an impossible mission (The Bureaucracy). 12 days later after my first contact I called and spoke to a Red Cross staff manager and promised to escalate my enquiry to the next level of management. The same day I reapplied on the Red Cross website, CIDI, and UN website. Finally I received a disappointed email from the Red Cross tell me that I am not qualified enough to help my country. They said I need years of training in international disaster relief.
Excuse my language Mr. President, but I think this pill is very difficult to swallow by anyone. If me as Haitian I am not qualified, so who is? I speak fluent English, French, and Creole (Haitian language), I understand Spanish as well. Therefore, I can translate easily from English to French and Creole and vice- versa. Furthermore, I came graduated from one of the best institutions in Haiti, meaning the best education system Haiti has to offer. I have a Bachelors Degree in management with a area of expertise in Business Administration, another degree in Economic Science; and completed three years of study toward a degree in Law. I worked for the banking industry for five years and later on offered my expertise services and become a Consultant for many international organizations like: Planning Assistance (PA), Development International Desjardins (DID), Quisqueya University, UCG/RI/World Bank/IDA, etc. I also wrote many manuals and modules of training like: “Le Caissier-Paiyeur Communal”, “Le Plan d’Affaires”, “Gestion de la Caisse Populaire” and many more. Some of my manuals were still used in Haiti before this tragedy happened. With those actives on my resume, anybody with an open mind can see it is hypocritical for an organization to assume that I am not qualify to help my country of birth, Haiti.
My dear President, as you often repeat during the course of your television address about Haiti:”Go Help Haiti, the Haitian People need your help.” The nation listens to you Mr. Obama and to the first lady, your wife as well. It is time for the big humanitarian organizations to join the party and giving help to these people. They need to understand their prior mission during tragedies or catastrophes is to save as many lives as possible. Therefore, the first 48 hrs after a catastrophe is vital and holy sacrament “Sacro- Santo” for the rescue mission of these organizations to focus on saving lives.
Therefore, my dear president my question is: What can we do to better service the population of victims after the effects of a catastrophe? One of the solutions is to create between the victims many leaders and use them as representatives. Give them responsibilities to reach out and to serve the population. Therefore, and again the first 24 hrs to 48 hrs is very critical to save lives. When the humanitarian organizations are landing in the sinister zones, they need to establish an informal system of management, which is a form of practice capable of reaching out to many of those victims to save as many lives as possible. Help come with action and order, therefore the Red Cross and Peace Corp needs to work together side by side to deliver first aid to the victims. The Peace Corp is there to maintain order and to protect the life of the volunteers and the victims in case of raiding. Also, these humanitarian organizations need to understand that the best trained volunteers during a disaster are the population itself. The sinister zones are their communities, they know each other, they speak the same language, and they share the same culture. Please let them participate during the rescue mission. Let them fill sanction and share the responsibility with them. As long as the days go the humanitarian organizations can find the time to organize and rethink their strategies and incorporate them to the bureaucratic system. In mean time hundreds and thousands of lives will be saved.
Haiti’s tragedy can represent a case study to the rest of us. Without any expert help, with their hands, and with no heavy equipment to dig on the sandstone they saved after this 7.0 magnitude earthquake thousands of their own by themselves. Of course, there will be imperfections and every disaster or catastrophe comes with its own challenge, the uncertainty. What we need to do is to manage to save as many lives as we can.
It is unfortunate what happened in Haiti with the lost of many lives. It is also true to know that it is in the harsh conditions good things happen. Today I want to thank all the American people for your prayers and your contributions to Haiti. My sincere gratitude goes to you and to your wife Mr. President, to the vice president and wife Mr. and Mrs. Joe Bidden, to the Secretary of State Mrs. Clinton, to the secretary of defense Mr. Robert Gates, and to President Clinton, and President Bush for their ongoing fundraising to support Haiti relief and rebuild. People all over the world are looking at Haiti now and manifested the desire to help rebuild this nation. It is a moral obligation to United States of America and the United Nations to rebuild Haiti and put this country in the path of a developing country; like it was a moral obligation for the United States and the United Nations to rebuild the countries of Europe that were destroyed after World War II. Yes it’s possible! If Europe could have been rebuild why not this little country of Haiti. There will be place for everybody to come to invest and supply, Haiti is like a virgin land. There is a mass of money going toward Haiti relief effort right now. Therefore, a system of audit needs to be initiated to put accountable any organization working in the rescue mission and rebuilding of the new Haiti. Because of the fact as president you invested some of your political capital on Haiti on January 12, 2010.
Is there any lesson from Hurricane Katrina? What we learned from the hurricane Katrina that could be avoidable today during the rescue mission in Haiti? The lesson we learn during the Disaster of New Orleans is that majority of the organizations haven’t had a disaster relief management program system to save lives during a big catastrophe like Katrina. Also there was a lot of administration time consuming before respond to an emergency, with a system bureaucratic nun functioning, with no well trained volunteers to reach out to the victims most in needs, etc.
My dear President, 17 days after one of the worst catastrophes in our history, today reporters are still witnessing the violent disaster and the lake of mismanagement of some or most of International organizations in Haiti. I do understand also they face one of the biggest challenges in the rescue mission in our lifetime. I am still convinced better can be done. Thanks to the US army help is now on the way to many victims in Port-au-prince and the surrounding areas. This situation in Haiti is not good at all and to add on top of that the smelling of the cadavers who still trapped on the debris of the sandstone and building materials. Now it is impossible to walk in the streets of Port-au-Prince and its surrounding areas. My dear president I have donated money to many institutions, I also have offered to volunteer my time, but some institutions judge which is not necessary, I am currently on the front cover of the www.GwinnettHerald.com aware people of the situation in Haiti and to give strength to my compatriots. I even put one of my paintings on auction to raise money to donate to the ClintonBushHaitiFund.org to go help the Haiti relief. I don’t know what to do next? President Obama, this is my cries: When all the international broadcasting news goes back to their countries, when all the attentions remove from Haiti, what is the next strategy? I am ready to report to duty Sir. What can I do and contribute in the rebuilding of my country of birth, Haiti?
Daniel Austin, Economist Consultant
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01/29/2010. All rights reserved