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When It Rains in Haiti...

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The tropical storm hitting Haiti this weekend would normally be nothing out of the ordinary: predicted sub-hurricane strength winds and 5"-10" of rain causing mud flows, rivers overflowing their banks and a few weeks of drying out and recovery.

But since the disastrous Category 4 hurricane of 2008; the unprecedented earthquake of 2010 which killed 300,000 Haitians and left a half million still homeless 2 1/2 years later; and, the world's largest outbreak of cholera in this century (nearly 600,000 cases with that bacterium still lingering in the environment) -- the current storm's effects could well be magnified greatly.

Most of the relief community, dozens of the world's government aid agencies, millions of individual private donors and certainly every single Haitian knows the unending tail of woe that was experienced in Haiti. The post-disaster experience left a lot to be desired.

It can be argued that serial bungling and/or blatant corruption by the remnants of Haiti's decimated government (many of whose senior officials were themselves killed or left homeless by the earthquake), the aid agencies' choices and bureaucracies and the governments which funded the disaster response all bear some measure of blame for the misdirected response to the serial disasters which befell Haiti.

There are always the bright lights, to be sure--the surviving hospitals and schools and their staffs which performed heroically; the far-too-few schools and clinics rebuilt to mitigate the effects of future disasters; the new relief efforts, shining individuals and local groups which came to the fore when the sclerotic ones failed to spend their millions of dollars to meaningfully help those in need or protect those in jeopardy from violence and nature's continuing fury.

But Haiti has for decades been the poorest country in our hemisphere and it was set far back by the disasters which have befallen it since 2008.

It behooves us, therefore, to do better than we have done and to beseech those relief agencies which still have cash, the missionary groups long active in using the suffering of Haitians as a fund raising tool and the governments with large unspent pots of funds earmarked for Haiti to get going in providing the shelter, safe water, schools and medical care which was long ago committed to raise Haiti's standard of living up to that of its developing neighbors.