Mother Jones' fearless young human rights correspondent reports from camps so squalid that even aid workers won't stay there. (Plus, a few bright spots and potential solutions—really.)
Eight months after the Haitian earthquake, there are serious doubts about whether the current recovery plan is going to work. Mac McClelland, Mother Jones' quick-witted, world-savvy human rights reporter, is reporting from the front lines: the camps where earthquake survivors live.
Currently over a million people live in the 1,500 camps, most of which are chaotic and unsafe. There is no security, so sunset starts a free-for-all. Rape is common, and so little food makes it into the camps that people are selling their bodies for food. The camps have become so dangerous that even rugged international aid workers won't stay the night.
So what's the plan? It depends who you ask. The UN, the Haitian government, and aid organizations all have different ideas (some of which include forcibly evicting camp residents, erecting new tents instead of permanent homes, and building sweatshops to “wean the Haitians off foreign aid.”) No one agrees how aid money should be spent or how long the recovery will take.
Reporter Mac McClelland is currently reporting from the ground in Haiti, painting compelling portraits of life in the camps, exposing the roadblocks to a solid recovery plan, and highlighting innovative solutions that could lead to real long-term stability. She's also visiting the successful rebuilding projects pioneered by in Haiti's grassroots housing organizations. It's all part of her ongoing reporting project on Haiti's recovery.
Mac brings a unique perspective unmatched by other reporters covering Haiti. Her personal, clear-eyed, moving reporting appeals to new audiences and holds every reader's attention. Salon hails Mac's “gritty, informed, passionate” writing and her “gonzo sensibility, big heart, and keen eye for weird details.” The Wall Street Journal says she “describes with saucy relish” her subjects, praising her style as “vivid” and “irreverent.” More plainly, The American Prospect says “Mac is a total bad-ass.”
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