A memorial to the victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, on the outskirts of Port-au-PrinceAndres Martinez Casares/Reuters

Since Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricanes Maria and Irma, Masthead members have asked for context. “Why are we not mounting a massive Marshall Plan-like response?” asked Wayne. He pointed to Haiti, where the U.S. military led rescue and recovery efforts after an earthquake in 2010. That comparison was also on the mind of Atlantic contributor Jonathan Katz, too. Katz was in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, in 2010, when the earthquake hit, and went on to write a book about the response. It was, he reported, a failure. I asked Katz what the intervention in Haiti suggests for Puerto Rico today. Here’s what he wrote.


By most accounts, the federal response to the hurricanes that thrashed Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands last monthisn’t going well. Survivors feel frustrated and alone. Oxfam America, a chapter of the aid group that works in places like Yemen and northeast Nigeria, is embarking on a rare domestic mission because of “the slow and inadequate response the U.S. government has mounted.”

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