Inside Disaster to Air on TVO January 11th

By Curtis Sindrey

At 4:53 p.m. on January 12 2010, the worst earthquake to hit the Caribbean in 200 years struck the impoverished nation of Haiti. The epicenter of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake was only 25 km from the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince. The devastation was massive and immediate. An estimated 230,000 people died, 300,000 had been injured and 1,000,000 had been made homeless.

To coincide with the one-year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti, TVO will broadcast a documentary called “Inside Disaster” on January 11th, 12th and 13th, at 9 p.m. The three part documentary series follows the Red Cross relief effort in the immediate aftermath of the Haiti earthquake.

Six hundred trained humanitarian workers from over 30 countries were on the ground in Haiti. The filmmakers were embedded in the Red Cross base camp and take us behind the headlines of a large-scale disaster, documenting the emergency relief operation from first hand. Inside Disaster follows the stories of both rescuers and survivors in a way you’ve never seen it before.

“The purpose of any documentary is to tell a story that people have not heard before. We wanted to create an understanding of the complexity of the situation, and to raise awareness of the humanitarian work that is being done,” said Andrea Nemtin, the executive producer of Inside Disaster.

In addition to the documentary, a website called InsideDisaster.com was created to give an insider’s look at the global response after the earthquake. “We tried to provide information and background on what these humanitarian missions are really like and where people’s money is going,” said Katie McKenna, interactive producer of InsideDisaster.

Hossam Eisharkawi of the Canadian Red Cross were caught between giving quality care and saving a quantity of people.

“The logistics we’re an absolute nightmare because of the near collapse of the airports and the road networks. It became increasingly difficult to access the places that the Red Cross needed. It was complicated because it was the capital that was hit, where you have the centre of it all,” said Eisharkawi.

“The operation is still active in Haiti presently,” he said. “They are still building shelters and distributing water. There are at least 30-40 Red Crosses of the world still active in Haiti working closely with the Haitian Red Cross. The process will take another 10 years because it was a massive disaster,” said Eisharkawi.

The first rescue response has been criticized for its tardiness and lack of resources. As international responders, they can only do so much. It’s the Haitians that must help themselves.

“Always in hindsight we could of done things differently,” Eisharkawi said.  “Targeted different areas, and so on. We could have moved a lot more goods through Santo, rather than focusing on moving goods primarily through the Haitian airports.”

“Were we late? Probably, it always is. No matter how early you are as an international responder, you’re always too late because it’s always the locals who respond first and they continue to respond when we leave as well,” he said.

The status of post-quake Haiti is dismal at best. Relief and recovery are at a standstill due to inaction from the Haitian government and indecision on the part of the donor countries. Nearly one million Haitians continue to live in tents, unable to resettle or return to their homes. Despite the billions of dollars being pumped into Haiti relief, no relief has arrived. This documentary might bring light to the ongoing support that is still needed today.

You can catch Inside Disaster only on TVO on January 11th, 12th and 13th at 9 p.m.

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  1. Hey Curtis, thanks for the write-up! Would be great if you’d link back to our site at http://insidedisaster.com/haiti/, and we’ll add you guys to our media list.

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