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Haiti: Aid From Slovakia Blocked by Customs for Ten Months

The Department of Home Affairs has confirmed (SLO) that a container with the second shipment of humanitarian aid from Slovakia has been blocked by the customs in Haiti for nearly ten months.

This problem, however, concerns not only Slovakia's shipment. As Vladimir Krčméry, Rector of the Bratislava-based St. Elisabeth University College of Health and Social Work, reports, hundreds of containers from other countries have also been detained by the Haiti customs – because “things that take a week to arrange [elsewhere], require a year” there. NGOs are often blamed for being slow, but Krčméry claims that only those that can bribe are fast, and that corruption is the biggest enemy.

The second shipment of humanitarian aid for Haiti contains nine tons of emergency quarters, nutrition and clothes, worth 177,300 euros. The first shipment had been sent ten days after the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake.

Below are a few readers’ comments to the SME.sk article on the humanitarian aid delivery failure (linked to above), which show how problems in disaster-stricken, faraway lands are seen from Slovakia.

veteranzkoreje:

The question is: who is going to notice such details when other voices are a lot more audible, e.g., “Actor Sean Penn: World has failed to help Haiti”

Mihole:

They work the same way as our customs work. They simply want customs duty. P.S. I've experienced exactly the same thing here.

Vladimir54:

Hell, why hasn't anyone creates a protectorate yet? … Let's say that an enlightened dictatorship on Haiti would be necessary at a time like this.

abc:

Let's not care about them, put that container on the ship and send it back home…

zaskakovací nožík (in reply):

but for that they already must give a bribe to let it return – they are trapped :-))

Ropp11:

fortunately, I did not send even a euro there, because something like this was likely to happen

hotfire6:

By the way, Britain sent them humanitarian aid, too, and because the Haitian customs officers didn't want to allow it in without bribes, it has been standing there for nearly one year already – I do not know if they have already shipped it back to Britain or not.
[…] What would happen after a disaster in a normal society? Neighbors help each other. On Haiti, they rob each other.

chech:

And what do you think would happen when someone from the EU sent humanitarian aid to Slovakia? … It would end up in the customs until someone paid tax and duty … All those customs gangs think and act the same way.

Maroš1967 (in reply):

[…] I believe that in such a case the [Slovak] government and its institutions would find a solution – any exception to allow those things be put to use…

homo-sapiens:

Also, we are given aid in the form of Euro Funds… And here this aid is stolen by those who have to distribute it. We are not better than the people from Haiti at all.

alter01:

I've always been saying this: Do not send them nonsense items like tents, dresses or toys for children! Send them money! It's best to send dollars, many of them! That you can carry through customs in a plastic bag.

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