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The state of affairs in Port-au-Prince — the extent of the devastation, the incapacity of the already weak Haitian government, and the degraded state of infrastructure country-wide — resists comparison to anything that has come before.
But post-recovery evaluations from the Asian tsunami, the Bam earthquake and other disasters suggest practices that allow relief efforts to work quickly and effectively, as well as those that result in waste and delays.
My piece on Forbes.com puts the response to Haiti's earthquake in the context of previous disaster relief efforts. Read it here.