Throwing Money at Disaster

April 22, 2010

When one of the world’s most persistently poor countries has a disaster, the world feels an obligation to help.  Like rescuing a crying kitten from the tree.  The kitten climbed there by itself, and the country has a history of wasting billions in foreign aid.

Where did they learn to do this?  From us.

The USA funds 27% of the United Nations’ budget.  And the UN’s budget is always increasing, with very little accountability.  The budget is what it is.

Yesterday, Fox News reported that the UN’s costs of administering the earthquake recovery in Haiti will overspend the original budget by 20%.  In the fiscal year that ends at the end of June, they will have spent $732.4 million.  This is in addition to  the $15 Billion promised by the world for the relief effort.

The UN’s quarter billion does include $33.9 million to pay the salaries of Haitians that are part of their effort,  a whopping 4.6 percent.  And another $495M for non-Haitian salaries, benefits and related expenses.

It’s not clear from the article whether that amount includes the $10M spent for 2 luxury liners used to house the foreign staff.  At $112,500 a day, it provides catered food, linen service and comfortable
staterooms and lounges.

As for results, the Haitians affected by the disaster are still living in makeshift housing, with surprising little progress being made in putting the country back together.

Since Haiti, there have been numerous quakes, including one twice as severe in Chile, and one earlier this month in China that killed hundreds.  Neither of these has generated anywhere near the level of world funding.