The Quake

A powerful report on Haiti's tragedy, with never-before-seen footage. What can be done now - and who will do it?

AIRED: March 30, 2010 | 0:56:12


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>>Tonight on Frontline...

What happened was catastrophic.

>> The first 24 hours, hundreds of thousands of people died.


>> We have never managed a disaster of this complexity.

Not even the tsunami.

>> To the people of Haiti, we say,

"You will not be forgotten."

>>Why was relief so slow to reach people?

>> The UN didn't immediately seek to coordinate efforts.

Why not?

>> First of all, we didn't have the capacity to do that.

>>The tragedy is far from over.

>> How are you going to handle the coming rainy season,

the coming hurricane season?

>> This shelter, you know, they cannot protect those people.

>>Correspondent Martin Smith reports on what can be done,

and who will do it.

>> Some Americans take a look at this and say,

"Look, you know, we've got our own problems.

We've not rebuilt New Orleans."

>> And shame on us.

>> If you can't help solve this one,

what can we expect from you?

>>Tonight on Frontline, "The Quake."

>> MARTIN SMITH: An earthquake of magnitude 7.0

is apparently not unusual.

Every year, there are more than a dozen worldwide.

Most pass unnoticed, and usually without much harm.

What happened this year in Haiti was different.


>> Jesus! Jesus!

>> Outside! Go! Go! Go!

>> The world is coming to an end!


>> The first thing I saw was the dust.

The dust and then the sound of people really crying,

crying out, "Help,"

and in Creole, "Au secours! Anmwéé! Anmw\\!"

I said, "My God, it's bad."

>> Apocalypse. Apocalypse.

All the ministers down, school, hospital, private house.

Incredible, unimaginable.

There were a lot of bodies all around,

a lot of injured people everywhere, people crying.

And a lot of people running in all directions.

>> The population was crying and yelling.


>> They didn't know what to do in this kind of situation,

and I was, like, you know, what to do to help them.

Nothing we can do.

>> SMITH: The quake struck at the heart

of a desperately poor and vulnerable country.

An estimated one in ten people in Haiti's capital,

Port-au-Prince, had died.

>> The corpses literally littered the streets.

Just thousands upon thousands of corpses

that people who had died,

either outside their homes or inside their homes,

and their family had put them out to be picked up.

>> SMITH: The wounded had nowhere to go.

Outside one of the few hospitals still standing,

a man sat beside two dead children.

>> This is a very emotional scene here.

There are many more bodies, many more bodies.

There are many more bodies just laying by the side of the road.

And there are people looking over the top to see

if this is where the Doctors Without Borders operates.

>> When we arrived at this hospital,

chaos outside of the gates.

People really trying to get into the hospital,

but the hospital was already full.

And, of course, no one was in the buildings

because they were structurally unsound.

There was people lying in the courtyard

with the most horrific injuries that I've ever seen.

You know, I don't consider myself to be squeamish at all,

being in medicine and, you know, this is enough

to even stop the most seasoned veteran in his or her tracks.

>> SMITH: At the main hospital,

hundreds of bodies were dumped out in the open.

Inside, amputations went forward without anesthesia.

>> I've walked into the hospital now,

and there are injured people lying all around,

a handful of doctors trying to treat them.

Head injuries, people with broken legs, and, amongst them,

those who were brought in here injured and who have since died.


>> SMITH: With the airport in Port-au-Prince closed

to all but humanitarian flights,

we landed in neighboring Dominican Republic

and drove to the border.

(horns honking)

Crowds of Haitians were struggling

to get out of the country.

As we entered Port-au-Prince, Haitians were just beginning

to grasp what had happened.

The images had been widely broadcast,

but to see it firsthand was altogether different.

Schools, hospitals, hotels, office buildings, homes--

completely demolished.

People who live and work here suddenly found themselves

in a strange land.

>> I was just astounded, you know, by seeing places

where I had often gone, places that I knew well as landmarks.

You know, in Haiti,

very few people know the names of streets,

but they'll direct you: "You turn left at the pink building."

And those landmarks gone,

and just buildings completely pancaked.

>> I go all around the town.

I wonder if there was not a war in the town.

I imagine, "Wow, what's happened?

"Did they... did they...

they were bombed on this town or what?"

>> SMITH: The quake had also decimated an already weak

and inefficient government,

wiping out 11 ministries and the Parliament.

Even the National Palace,

an enduring symbol to all Haitians, had collapsed.

>> It was like if a city like Washington, D.C.,

woke up and the White House is flattened,

the Congress is flattened.

FBI, CIA, the banks, all the banks, the...

all the communications... communication system, flattened.

>> You see that?

>>> SMITH: Yeah, there is a whole body here.

The world had watched hours of dramatic rescues on television,

but the truth was, only a very small fraction

of those caught in the rubble survived--

fewer than 150 people.

Many tens of thousands were buried.

Here, men were looking for bodies in a collapsed school.

>> SMITH: 90% of Port-au-Prince's schools were

either damaged or destroyed.

With the city in ruins,

makeshift camps appeared everywhere.

Every soccer field, public square and parking lot

in the capital was overrun.

Over one million people--

half the population of Port-au-Prince--

were now homeless.

>> SMITH: As reporters, we were constantly challenged.

How were we supposed to respond

in the face of such overpowering desperation?

>> SMITH: We met Emmanuel,

who was trying to organize this camp.

He explained how the young and able

went out to search for food.

Some of the young men go and find food,

and then share it with the camp?

>> With the camp. >> SMITH: Yeah.

>> But it's, like, it's not enough.

You know, they just go downtown to see what they can get,

sometimes they come back here, they don't get nothing.

>> SMITH: Downtown, in what used to be

the capital's main shopping district,

we came across hundreds of people in search of food

or anything worth trading.

Supermarkets, bakeries, hardware stores-- all were ransacked.

It was an organized collective effort in some places...

a free-for-all in others.

The policeman standing by was powerless to do anything

but shoot into the air.


What were the orders to your men?

>> We are not going to shoot at people who are trying to find

something to eat.

You see what I mean?

>> SMITH: With the police unable to control the crowds,

shop owners emptied their stores,

or took matters into their own hands.

We were told this man had been executed for stealing.

His feet were still bound.

In the chaos, we came across many disturbing scenes.

We found this man dumped in front of a police station.

>> SMITH: It wasn't clear what had happened,

except that he had been lying here for five hours.

We gave him water but he poured most of it on the ground.

A bystander said he was making voodoo signs to ward off evil.

>> SMITH: The next morning,

we were crossing town in an ambulance.

>> We want to make sure we cover her nose

to help with the dust, okay?

>> Okay. >> Put something over her nose.

>> SMITH: Witlet Maceno, a Haitian-American nurse volunteer

from New York, was ferrying a pregnant woman

from a camp clinic to the general hospital.

>> Let's get there quickly, but be careful with the bumps.

>> SMITH: She was losing a lot of blood.

>> Let's just hope we get there safely,

we get the transfusion going,

and hopefully we can save her and the baby.

That would make me very happy.

>> SMITH: The general hospital had become the city's main ER.

It looked more like a refugee camp than a medical center.

The injuries were severe.

Several hundred people had undergone amputations...

many done with a simple hacksaw.

>> It was not a place I would call a hospital.

You had patients that had dressings that was not changed

since probably the quake happened, the day it happened.

Maggots were coming out some of them.

I mean, it... it was definitely crazy.


Even getting your leg cut off, we had no pain killers

to give you except for aspirin or Motrin.

How do you take care of someone whose main issue is pain

after they get their leg cut off,

and you have nothing to alleviate that pain?

>> SMITH: On the morning we were there,

aftershocks had rattled nerves.

Fearing the hospital would collapse,

patients demanded to be taken outdoors.

They now lay in stifling heat.

>> Move this, move this!

>> SMITH: Maceno had brought his patient here

for a blood transfusion.

>> She was losing blood.

If she did not have blood the next hour or two,

she was going to die along with the baby.

Keep in mind we are dealing with a six-months-pregnant woman.

So it's a whole different issue

as to how you go about doing that.

Went to the Swiss, the Swiss had no blood.

We went to some different groups, they had no blood.

And I went directly to the hospital administration office

and said, "Well, where can we find some blood?"

I thought the city had blood.

"We don't have any blood."

I'm going to check with the Red Cross to see

if they have anything now, 'cause they don't have anything.

>> SMITH: No blood? >> No blood.


We just run, run in circles,

find out that the Haitian Red Cross

that was actually not too far from where she was, had blood.

You are wonderful!

None of the doctors and all the people out here knows

that they have blood right there.

This is ridiculous.

>> SMITH: Maceno said this was one of his few success stories.

Too often the needed supplies didn't arrive.

It was impossible to understand the scale of the disaster

and to imagine the enormous challenge of distributing

whatever aid was available.

And for people on the ground, there was no way to know

if any help was on the way.

To make matters worse, their president, Ren\ Pr\val,

refused to formally address the nation during that first week.

For the most part, he remained out of sight.

>> He was panicked.

Préval was an emotional stress.

Where he was telling his wife, "Can I... should I...

"I think I should say something?

Well, what can I say?"

You had a feeling that Préval did not know what to do.

>> In the wake of the earthquake, Haiti's government

was almost non-existent to most Haitians.

They didn't see it.

They didn't see Préval.

They didn't hear him much on the radio.

In a sense, the weak, corrupt Haitian government

became almost the invisible Haitian government.

>> SMITH: No one, it seemed, was willing to speak.

>> The churches, the private sector, the university,

you know, all the elite of this country.

There was a lot of silence.

>> SMITH: The Haitian government had set up

a temporary headquarters under some mango trees

at a police station near the airport.

I asked to speak to the president.

I was taken to the prime minister.

There's a lot of anger on the streets

from ordinary Haitians

about the performance of the government.

>> I'm pretty amazed that there is so... that the anger...

the anger is not greater.

I believe that the people are supporting with a lot of calm,

of a lot of serenity, the situation they are in.

>> SMITH: Why hasn't the president, particularly,

as well as yourself, spent more time on the streets with people?

You've said yourself that, "We didn't do a good enough job...

>> Yeah.

>> SMITH: ...of communicating with people,

of being among the people."

>> It's a choice.

There is so much to do, there is so much to organize.

There is so few people to help you to do the job.

And time is a very rare commodity

for our government right now.

>> SMITH: With the government largely absent,

the United Nations stepped into the breach

and tried to set up food distribution.

Here, hundreds gathered outside a food depot.

People were growing ever more desperate.


(horn honking)

>> SMITH: As trucks emerged from the gate,

they were swarmed by the crowds.

Haitians fought Haitians for whatever they could get.

At another distribution point,

people waited for hours in a line that snaked for blocks.

>> The aid is beginning to flow in more regularly.

The airport here in Port-au-Prince

and another one in Jacmel are now...

>> SMITH: And at the end of the long wait,

water and crackers.

And even those soon ran out.

>> SMITH: In the first week, only an eighth of the population

had received food and water.

>> SMITH: The reason that the UN had been so slow to respond

was that they too had been decimated.

They lost their headquarters and 101 people,

including the chief of mission and his deputy.

Now in charge was Edmond Mulet.

>> The fault line of this earthquake came down

from the national palace building that was very solid,

pure concrete, built, I believe, in 1916,

and then it went all the way up the hill

and hit our headquarters.

Apparently that fault was really underneath our own building.

Even in the worst-case scenario,

we always thought we would be the first ones to respond.

We never thought that we would be the victims of such a...

such a situation, too.

>> SMITH: The UN set up a temporary base near the airport

and tried to deploy their now limited resources.

>> I think that under the circumstances,

the best has been done, the best we can.

>> SMITH: Mulet's aid coordinator, Kim Bolduc,

first hoped she could rely on supplies stockpiled

by the World Food Program.

>> There was enough, like, 8,000 tons of food,

because WFP did not only stockpile for the hurricanes,

WFP is a regular food supplier to Haiti.

>> SMITH: How many tons of food?

>> There was, like, 8,000 tons of food,

but the warehouse had collapsed.

A number of them were damaged.

>> SMITH: And 8,000 tons of food,

how many people can that feed for how long?

>> It could feed something like a million people for ten days.

>> SMITH: Without any available stocks in country,

the UN depended on aid streaming in from the outside,

and on thousands of volunteers joining NGOs

already based in Haiti.

But with the port down and the roads congested,

the airport was overwhelmed.

In the first three days, flights were not prioritized.

>> Who was making decisions initially about who could land

and who couldn't is unclear to me.

Some of the large organizations,

I think the Red Cross and others,

were not able to get their equipment in at the airport.

>> SMITH: It was a mess.

Television reporters landed before doctors.

Shoes and clothing before bandages.

>> This is something where you got to take a point of chaos

and you got to turn it into some kind of order.

>> SMITH: When we visited, the U.S. army had taken control

of the airport but was struggling to establish order.

>> A lot of this cargo was not here yesterday,

because the process of moving right now.

>> SMITH: And what is here?

>> You have food, you have water,

you have logistical supplies.

We have some medical supplies,

so it's all coming in here right now.

>> SMITH: Even when relief supplies did arrive,

it was hard to get them moved out.

In the time we were there, about 90 minutes,

only one load of water left the airport.

But instead of going to Haitians,

it was headed to relief workers at the U.S. Embassy.

>> Is the airport starting to clutter up with goods

and materials and products that you're not quite sure

what to do with?

>> This first week, it was very urgent to have as many people

who could come on the ground and help and assist.

And the coordination of that, of course, is impossible.

And it's not desirable.

>> SMITH: In a satellite press briefing,

Mulet admitted that in the first week,

the UN deliberately decided not to coordinate aid.

Why not?

>> How can you coordinate?

I mean, the border was open with the Dominican Republic,

thousands of volunteers coming in, airplanes landing.

Imagine if the government or the UN, or any other organization,

had tried to coordinate that.

We would have bureaucratized the whole process,

and I think it would not have been effective.

>> SMITH: You would have prevented aid

from getting through?

Is that what you're saying?

>> We didn't have the capacity to really organize

the whole thing and it was such goodwill and generosity

from everywhere, and I think it would not have been effective.

>> Two days after the disaster, our main priorities remain...

>> SMITH: Mulet and his aid coordinator, Bolduc,

came in for a lot of criticism.

>> We need to strengthen the coordination capacity...

>> SMITH: The lack of coordination puts you squarely

in the gun sight really.

>> I'm always on the spot.

This is a position that gets all this kind of finger pointed.

This is part of the job.

When it's fair, I do accept that.

I'm not a superwoman.

Nobody is.

>> SMITH: Well into the second week,

shortages prolonged suffering.

At the general hospital's post-operative tent,

the situation was distressing.

>> Easy, easy, easy!

>> All right, all right.

>> Ow!

>> SMITH: Innocentuno Valbrun is a 16-year-old boy.

His mother told me he dreamt of becoming a soccer star.

He lost his foot when he went back into his crumbling home

to rescue his sister.

>> SMITH: Dr. Mitchell Schuster of Boca Raton, Florida,

was attending his wounds.

>> All these post-op patients require good pain relief now,

and they all have to start getting sterile techniques,

which is almost impossible as you can see.

>> SMITH: Do you have enough morphine?

Do you have enough pain killer?

>> No, we do not.

We have a few doses, but in terms of 24-hour coverage, no.

I'll tell you one thing also--

nobody has brought these patients any food or water.

We are just hearing rumors coming around that there's food,

there's water on site, but I've seen nobody distribute

food or water in here except us.

>> SMITH: You're telling me that the food and water

that you brought to sustain you and the other doctors

is being used for the patients.

>> Correct.

>> SMITH: And nobody has stepped forward to give you...

>> Not yet.

>> SMITH: to the patients.

>> Again, there may be other sites in the hospital

that are providing, but at the post-op care,

there is no food and water at this point.

Josh, check his...

that he has a pulse, please, down here.

>> SMITH: For lack of enough beds, this man,

wasting and near death, lay on the ground.

He had been found in the morgue left for dead.

>> This is a miracle case.

He came in yesterday, basically looking like he had moments

or hours to live.

He's now had an amputation.

This was truly a horrific wound.

You saw just two bones in the middle of the leg

and a stump of foot and the knee above it,

and there were flies and maggots.

So this was a guy that really was a dead patient

brought back to life.

Whether he lives a week or a year or 10 years

or longer than me, I don't know.

>> SMITH: Not everyone survived surgery.

Did she die?

>> Yes.

>> Should I take her somewhere?

>> Take her to the morgue.

>> Yeah.

>> SMITH: The morgue had long run out of space.

Back on the streets of Port-au-Prince,

cleanup was underway.

But in the rubble, more dead.

The bodies were hauled to mass graves

just north of town.

The quake's death toll was now well over 200,000.

>> To the people of Haiti, we say clearly and with conviction,

"You will not be forsaken, you will not be forgotten."

>> We are with you.

We will help you to recover and rebuild.

>> We will be here today, tomorrow,

and for the time ahead.

>> SMITH: There have been a lot promises made about Haiti

in recent weeks.

But Haiti has a history of frustrating reformers,

absorbing aid, and resisting change.

For many Haitians, their fate rests only in the hands of God.

>> SMITH: One morning, we visited a church

in the slums of La Saline.

>> SMITH: In his sermon, the preacher described

the power of the earthquake and of God's wrath,

regardless of faith.

>> SMITH: But then he laid out a vision of what Haiti should be.

>> SMITH: Once upon a time,

there was a lush and verdant Haiti.

But Haiti's story is one of a dream denied.

It's a story that begins 200 years ago when Haiti was ruled

by French colonists.

>> The wealth of Haiti, of colonial Haiti, was legendary.

It produced half the world's sugar cane.

It produced two-thirds of its coffee.

It contributed more than half the foreign exchange

of colonial France.

There was talk in the 18th century of possibly trading it

for Canada.

It was called the Pearl of the Antilles.

>> Pauline Bonaparte, the sister of Napoleon,

had her mansion in Port-au-Prince,

just to show you that Haiti was the center of opulence,

the center of power.


>> SMITH: Then came Haiti's defining moment.

>> The great event looming over the history of Haiti,

in the mind of every Haitian alive,

is the glorious Haitian revolution--

the only successful slave revolt in history-- when, in 1804,

a nation of slaves, of 500,000 slaves,

were able to defeat the superpower of the day,

Napoleonic France, and declare independence.

The only black republic on the face of the globe.


Every Haitian knows this story,

whether they can read or can't read.

Every Haitian knows the characters,

who played the key role, who founded the country.

Every Haitian walks in glory, to some extent,

because they are inheritors of this great slave revolution.

>> SMITH: The United States benefited directly

from Haiti's great triumph.

The revolution quashed Napoleon's ambitions

for a New World empire.

Short of cash, at war with Britain,

Napoleon quickly sold a major swath

of France's North American territories--

the Louisiana Purchase.

>> 13 states west of the Mississippi.

They sold it for $15 million, three cents an acre,

the biggest real estate deal.

That's what Haiti did for the United States of America.

>> SMITH: The Louisiana Purchase doubled the size

of the United States.

America might have been grateful.

Instead, the U.S. refused to recognize Haiti.

>> It was a "bad example" for black slaves

to rise against their white masters.

So the United States back then slapped an embargo on Haiti

to bottle us up.

And they did.

And it remained for 60 years.

>> SMITH: In the coming years,

Haiti would suffer diminishing wealth and political upheaval.

Its mistrust for America would grow.

>> And then in 1915, United States Marines land in Haiti...

>> SMITH: Over the next century, Haiti would endure 20 years

of U.S. occupation,

30 years of dictatorship under the Duvaliers...

>> I have been elected for president for life.

>> SMITH: ...failed attempts at democracy, military coups,

and in the '90s another intervention.

>> The message of the United States to the Haitian dictators

is clear.

Leave now, or we will force you from power.

(cheers and applause)

>> SMITH: President Clinton's occupation in 1994

deposed a military dictator and reinstated a popular president,

Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

But America's relationship with Aristide would sour,

first under Clinton, then under President Bush,

when an aid embargo crushed Haiti's fragile economy.

If things weren't bad enough already,

less than two years ago,

Haiti was hit by one of the worst series of storms

the Caribbean had ever seen.

Dr. Paul Farmer saw the aftermath firsthand.

>> I went to the city of Gonaive,

and the city was under water.

There were people walking out with bare feet, often,

out of the city.

There was a whole pilgrimage.

And people were saying, "Do you have any water?

Do you have any water?"

I said, "This is just nuts.

>> There were almost a million people displaced initially.

The estimate was the damages were close to a billion dollars.

And you didn't have the kind of response that was necessary.

>> It was at that point that Ban Ki-moon,

Secretary-General of the United Nations,

decided that the time had come to do something different.

The term that was used in the UN was there was a need

for a game changer.

>> SMITH: Ban Ki-moon turned

to America's highest-profile Haiti hand.

>> He said, "You know, we got to keep interest in this going.

"I know you care a lot about Haiti.

Would you please agree to be the UN envoy?"

The Haitians have been abused by outsiders,

neglected by outsiders, helped,

but in a paternalistic, ineffective way by outsiders.

They've engaged in self-abuse.

They've had all kinds of problems.

And they wanted, finally,

to seize control of their own destiny.

>> Bill Clinton is a fairly fascinating figure

in the story of Haiti.

He and Hillary went to Haiti in 1975 for their honeymoon.

They have been attached to the country and fascinated by it

ever since.

And then, of course, President Bill Clinton occupied Haiti.

>> SMITH: For Clinton it was a chance to make up

for his failed venture.

Haitians welcomed his involvement.

>> When Ban Ki-moon named President Clinton

as special envoy to Haiti, I say, "Good."

Because President Clinton has the leverage to get things done.

>> SMITH: Clinton and Ban Ki-moon wanted to get

America's attention.

They decided to enlist Hollywood.

>> We met in southern California and Los Angeles

with a lot of people from the movie

and music entertainment communities.

And we said, what we really want you to do is to help us think

of ways to communicate with the American people

and people around the world to maintain the interest here.

>> I know in my heart that if people back home hear

what's going on and could see some of these images

and some of these things that we've seen, they will help.

>> SMITH: Ban Ki-moon also turned to the author

of an influential book on the developing world,

Oxford economist Paul Collier.

>> Ban Ki-moon called me into the United Nations and said,

"Go to Haiti.

"See if you can come up with a strategy

that the government would find helpful."

When I went to Haiti,

I realized that actually Haiti was a country which abounded

in economic opportunities.

>> SMITH: Collier saw promise in agriculture, tourism,

and especially basic manufacturing.

>> It's a very low-income area

just off the shore of the biggest market on earth.

So that was a huge opportunity.

>> There was new optimism in Haitian politics, too,

under President René Préval.

In 2009, the new Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton,

ordered a major policy review

and addressed a donor's conference where $350 million

in aid were promised.

>> This small nation is on a brink,

and it, as well as this region,

will be shaped to a large extent by the decisions that we make.

>> Donors did commit to reasonable amounts of money.

Not, I think, enough to tackle the problem,

but reasonable amounts of money.

And Bill Clinton then realized

that he could bring in the private sector.

And so, in October of 2009, he brought in 200 chief executives

of major companies to see the opportunities.

>> My job is to mobilize more interest among global investors

to get more private sector investment there.

So I said I would do that, and I set about doing it.

We were making fabulous progress.

>> SMITH: Clinton invited Dr. Paul Farmer to be his deputy.

>> I don't want to say we were doing great,

but you couldn't get a hotel room in Port-au-Prince

in the fall of 2009.

It was packed.

There was this buzz going around that, you know,

there were people from all over the world

coming to invest in Haiti.

>> SMITH: Things were improving.

In the midst of a worldwide recession,

Haiti's economy was actually growing.

>> There was a real spirit and hope that things were, at last,

going to improve.

The earthquake really came out of nowhere.



>> SMITH: The earthquake laid bare the weakness

of Haiti's political structures.

It also raised serious questions about how aid works here

and how to move forward.

In the past, foreign assistance has gone primarily to NGOs.

Per capita, Haiti has one of the highest concentrations of NGOs

in the world.

>> These non-governmental organizations were chosen

as a more efficient way to deliver aid,

and also as a way to deliver aid

that would be less available for Haitian corruption

than government-to-government aid.

>> The consequence is the government has withered.

And so you have this situation where Haiti is sometimes called

a Republic of NGOs because there are about 6,000 NGOs

that do the work that usually governments do

in other countries.

And so that's a problem.

>> The whole system is humanitarian.

Those guy don't have to anything to eat?

Let's feed them.

They don't have doctor, give them hospitals.

They don't have medics, let's give them some.

What about what do we do next?

Okay, you fed us, that's fantastic.

Where are the roads?

Where is the development of agriculture?

How can we expect a country of nine million people

to feed itself with imports?

>> NGOs cannot build the infrastructure of Haiti.

They cannot build the roads, the electricity,

the water system, and so forth.

So I've been pleading with international organizations

to work with the Haitian government,

so that they can not continue to say the government is too weak.

>> This is an opportunity to rethink how aid works

and how we, the most powerful country

in this part of the world, can work with our oldest neighbor.

So, I think all that possibility is built into this tragedy.

>> SMITH: Farmer has been advocating a new model

for years.

His group, Zanmi Lasante, as Partners in Health is known

in Creole, works closely with Haiti's Ministry of Health.

Together they operate a network of clinics and hospitals.

The idea is to create a reservoir of talent

and expertise that belongs to Haiti.

>> Instead of setting up a parallel system, we say,

"How can we reinforce the public sector?"

It is the government's responsibility to deliver

health care to its population.

We see ourselves as buttressing that ability,

helping them in their time of need so that eventually,

they can do it themselves.

>> SMITH: This approach might work.

The problem is that more NGOs will have to give up autonomy,

and the government will have to step forward.

>> Madam Secretary!

>> Madam Secretary.

>> SMITH: At a press conference,

Secretary Clinton stood next to President René Préval.

I think a lot of people would look at Pr\val

and ask this question as to whether or not

he's a reliable partner.

He's been through three prime ministers in the last two years.

He was largely absent after the quake.

He failed to address his people, came in for a lot of criticism.

And on the streets, he is very unpopular at this point.

Is he a reliable partner?

>> He is a reliable partner, but he is a partner

who has very serious challenges when it comes to capacity.

>> SMITH: What do you mean by capacity?

>> Well, that he has a government

and a political system and a social structure

which is very entrenched in the way it has always done business.

>> SMITH: What Clinton is talking about is Haiti's

entrenched elite, a handful of families who control everything

from the local economy to many key ministries.

And while Pr\val is not considered corrupt himself,

he is weak and many think unlikely to survive

Haiti's fall elections.

Some Americans take a look at this and say,

"Look, you know, we've got our own problems.

We have not rebuilt New Orleans."

>> And shame on us.

>> SMITH: "And now we're going to take on Port-au-Prince."

>> Right.

To that I say, because I've had this conversation

with many people, this is not the United States coming in

and saying, "Oh, let us fix it."

This is the United States along with international organizations

and countries from France to Canada to Brazil to Japan,

saying, "We all will play a role."

Half of... nearly half of all American households

have contributed to Haiti relief.

>> SMITH: I know, I hear that stat and I can't believe it.

>> Isn't that stunning?

>> SMITH: Well, I don't know, is it true?

>> It is true.

Over $700 million contributed from Americans to their churches

or to other organizations that they had confidence in,

plus the United States has spent many hundreds of million dollars

in deploying USAID and deploying the military and so much else.

So we are already invested

and we don't want that investment to go to waste.

We want that investment to realize a positive outcome.

(horn honks)

>> SMITH: Six weeks after the earthquake,

we went back to Haiti.

The disaster was still unfolding.

The number of camps had grown.

Some were small clusters, others vast tent cities.

This one, near the slums of Cit\ Soleil,

had more than 40,000 people and only one toilet per thousand.

>> The city for many, many days and weeks, really,

just had the stench of bodies in the air.

Now the stench has moved from, really,

the bodies to the stench of the living.

Because people don't really have the sanitation

and waste kind of management that they need to have.

>> SMITH: In this camp, we found Emanuel again.

He had succeeded in bringing in a project to build more toilets

for his camp.

>> This is the kind of toilet that we have right here.

>> SMITH: Each toilet here would be shared by only 60.

>> But now, we don't know when it's fulled up.

We don't know yet how they're gonna clean it for us,

just to remove the waste.

I mean, the poop.

>> SMITH: He had also wrangled a new water supply, a clinic,

and more tents.

But the big worry for everyone was the coming rains.

>> Now this shelter, you know, they cannot really protect

these people because it's going to rain a lot.

And it's gonna be start raining in May.

>> We are going to get into the rainy season.

All the garbage that it drains down to the capital.

That's going to be horrible.

>> SMITH: It's not just garbage.

The rains will send raw sewage streaming through the camps.

>> You have an incredible potential for epidemic disease

to spring up.

Any type of pathogen that is transmissible,

it's going to be magnified and exacerbated tenfold,

a hundredfold, a thousandfold.

So it isn't a crisis that is going is going to emerge;

it is a crisis today.

>> SMITH: To escape the camps,

those that can are furiously rebuilding,

working with bits of rubble to construct new homes.

But they are no sturdier-- or even flimsier--

than what they had before.

>> SMITH: It's a race against the weather,

and it seems anything goes for now.

Before we left Haiti, on the grounds of a damaged church,

we found the boy we met at the hospital a few weeks earlier,

16-year-old Innocentuno Valbrun and his parents.

>> SMITH: The Valbruns' home was completely destroyed.

Innocentuno's father lost his job.

His mother says she worries about her son's future.

>> SMITH: Tomorrow, nations will gather at a donor's conference

in New York to discuss the way forward in Haiti.

>>There's more to explore on our website...

>> At the beginning, it was the basics: food, water, clothes.

>>...where you'll find two video reports

on what new economies might emerge from therubble...

>> Here's something surprising:

there's more competition now than before the earthquake.

>> our public media partners

at NPR's "Planet Money."

>> Other people made their living by teaching school,

working in a government ministry.

Now, the only way to make a living is selling things

or services in the camp.

>>Plus get more background on Haiti's long struggles

and the need to rethink foreign aid.

Watch this program again online

and join the discussion at

>>Next time on Frontline...

It's time to get the full story.

"The Mormons."

>> Frontline is made possibleby contributions

toyour PBS station from viewers like you.

Thank you.

With major funding from

the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Committed to building a more just, verdant

and peaceful world.

Additional funding is provided by the Park Foundation.

And by the Frontline Journalism Fund.

With grants from Laura DeBonis and Scott Nathan.

And the Hagler Family.


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