Journalist Linda Polman discussed corruption and aid organizations, the topic of her new book, "The Crisis Caravan: What's Wrong With Humanitarian Aid?" last night with Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show."
Stewart and Polman talked about the relief efforts in Haiti, which is still very much a work-in-progress.
"The United States has already donated a billion dollars to Haiti just after the earthquake to help people have tents and have food, for example," Polman said. "But that's the easy part. Now the difficult part should be starting, and that's rebuilding Haiti.
"One billion dollars is just absolutely nothing. It's just peanuts."
Stewart asked, "But you make the case that sometimes these aid projects prolong war."
Polman replied, "In Somalia, there's this huge investigation going on about the World Food Program, which is a UN charity." Of the program, valued at over $400 million, Polman continued, "The research that has looked into that program, they say they have proved that more than $200 million dollars are actually disappearing straight into the pockets of warlords."
"They can convert that money into weapons, they can buy soldiers to fight for them. Aid money is actually helping warlords to fill their war-chests."
"They are not defining a central goal," Polman said.
Of the 10,000 aid organizations involved in Haiti now, Polman stated the problem is that they are all doing their own little thing individually and not cooperating.
"If you would work together as donors and as aid organizations you could make a fist against the abuse and against the theft and corruption."
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