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With our team in Port-au-Prince

Haiti, January 23, 2010

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I just arrived in Port-au-Prince, where the early days of chaos are now transforming into a more orderly relief effort. Still, the needs are overwhelming. It is a whirlwind of grief, relief and resilience. Everywhere there are street vendors selling food and basic goods. They are one key to Haiti's recovery.

I'm very proud of the Mercy Corps teams and of all the aid workers, who are sleeping on hard floors or under tarps and tents. They are doing their best under difficult circumstances.

Choppering in over the mountains from Santo Domingo, the contrast between the jungles of the Dominican Republic and the naked Haiti hills is stark. Haiti has huge environmental challenges as well!

For sound advice on Haiti, read this column by New York Times columnist Nick Kristof. Aid alone is not sufficient. Haiti needs business and jobs.

Now is not the time to be critical of aid. Too many good folks, Haitian and international, are doing their best. Time for lessons learned will come later.