The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster
Jonathan M. Katz
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Published to glowing reviews and awards, The Big Truck That Went By is a crucial, timely look at a signal failure of international aid.
Jonathan M. Katz was the only full-time American news correspondent in Haiti on January 12, 2010, when the deadliest earthquake in the history of the Western Hemisphere struck the island nation. In this visceral first-hand account, Katz takes readers inside the terror of that day, the devastation visited on ordinary Haitians, and through the monumental--yet misbegotten--rescue effort that followed.
carrying his two-year-old daughter, Clercilia, wrapped in a yellow blanket. The Regis’s church had a water-purifying machine, but without a job, Judson could no longer afford the price of 14 gourdes, or 38 cents, a gallon. Instead the Regises had been drinking from a tap in the slum. Their pastor had advised them to mix in some lime juice and bleach. On Sunday, Clercilia had lost control of her bowels during the morning service. Her mortified parents ushered her out and carried her home. Because
125–33, 146, 149–53, 175, 232, 248, 259–60, 278 Direction Generale des Impôts (DGI), 174, 182 Disaster Accountability Project, 206–7 Doctors Without Borders, 68, 75, 207, 235 Dominican Republic, 14–15, 38–40, 49, 63, 65–6, 75, 88, 90, 97, 100, 104, 118, 142, 147, 166, 184, 205, 219, 223, 244, 256, 260 border, 15, 49, 65, 88, 97, 184, 219 earthquake (1946), 38–9 donations, 3–4, 277–8 Donchev, Dilyan, 128 donors’ conference, 2, 99, 112–13, 119–20, 124, 126, 129–133, 145–9, 152–3, 173, 175,
Soleil, an oceanside shantytown formerly dominated by drug trans-shipping gangs since uprooted by UN soldiers. I watched a man toting a silver revolver rob a motorcycle driver in broad daylight and make off with his sack of rice. Neighbors told us that gangsters who had escaped in a mass postquake exodus from the damaged National Penitentiary had started a nocturnal turf war, and the bodies of hacked-up foot soldiers were showing up facedown in the garbage canals. Haitian police encouraged
in the neighboring Central Plateau. Health investigators took eight stool specimens to the national laboratory in Port-au-Prince. All tested positive for cholera. Health officials’ phones lit up all over the capital, then at the CDC in Atlanta, at the Haiti desk at the State Department in Washington, D.C., and at the UN’s WHO headquarters in Geneva. They all knew: Cholera was a remorseless killer, and it could move very fast. By the time Claire and I took off from St. Kitts at the end of the
be absolutely certain.” “Trust me, Vincenzo, this isn’t what you described in the press release. And it doesn’t smell like a kitchen.” “I hear what you are telling me, Jonathan, but I don’t know. I’m not there.” “I’m not making this up,” I answered. He paused. “Well. I don’t know.” My blood pressure rose. “Vincenzo, let us get into the base and talk to the commander. Someone needs to explain what’s going on here. It will be better if it’s now.” He said he’d see what he could do and hung up.