Fanny Devoucoux is the Director of ACTED, the Agency for technical cooperation and development. This NGO has been in Haiti since 2004.
Sophie Desjardin, euronews :
How has the task changed since January 2010?
Fanny Devoucoux:’‘Well, since the earthquake we have been focused primarily on the purely urgent and immediate, here in the capital Port au Prince but also in other hard-hit towns across the country. We redirected our activities to deal with people’s basic needs, to support them when they may have lost the roof over their heads, members of their family, or have limited access to food and water for several months.’‘
euronews : ‘‘Problems with freeing up aid funds, only five percent of the debris cleared and almost a million people still living out in the open. What is happening on the ground? Why haven’t things gone any quicker?’‘
Fanny Devoucoux:’‘This is a capital city which collapsed, not just in terms of its buildings, but in economic and social terms as well. The response has been slow for a number of reasons. First of all, it is more difficult to try and help in an urban environment than a rural one. We need space to operate and so we have to clear the debris that has been left by the quake. This is happening, but slowly, and work on a much bigger scale is now needed. This is not really work for NGO’s, its more for the private sector or the international community. We also need land on which to build housing, both temporary and permanent, for the people living in the open. This means that political decisions will have to be made, and quickly.’‘
euronews:’‘Everyone involved, whether it be local authorities, the international community or NGO’s, are passing the buck and refusing to take responsibility for this stalemate. Who do you think should bear the blame?’‘
Fanny Devoucoux:’‘Reconstruction will continue for a long time. You don’t always want it to happen quickly because in some cases, it must be properly done. What is clear is that the NGO’s, are filling a gap which is already far too wide, which should have been filled most notably by the Haitian government. I think that now the NGO’s all agree on one thing – they are stretched too far and are operating beyond their own remits. What’s needed is more support, a state-level dialogue, like we have with the international community, and to send out the message that supporting the Haitian state is vitally important. NGO’s don’t rebuild a country, that is the work of a government for its people. What is needed here is a state that cares for its people, which defines its institutional structure, which decides on priorities and long-term aims for reconstruction, which ultimately allows its people to take control of their own destiny.’‘
Haiti: Fanny Devoucoux, director of Acted