VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA – It has been almost exactly four years to the day that a catastrophic earthquake shook the island of Haiti. On January 12, 2010 the seism reached a magnitude of 7.0 Mw, with an epicenter near the town of Léogâne, approximately 25 kilometers west of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.According to estimates, three million people were affected by the temblor, with death toll estimates ranging from 100,000 to 316,000.The earthquake caused major damage in Port-au-Prince, Jacmel and other towns in the area. Numerous notable landmark buildings suffered from significant damage or were destroyed altogether. Many countries responded to appeals for humanitarian aid, pledging funds and dispatching rescue and medical teams, engineers and support personnel.
But now, four years after the disaster, The Guardianraises an interesting question: Where is all the US aid money going? Turns out, American NGOs and companies still receive the bulk of the funding for projects in Haiti, despite promises by the US government to spend more money through local organizations directly. According to date published by the US agency for international development, last year more than $270 million were spent on projects in Haiti, whereas companies that are based in the United States received almost have of that money, followed by another 37% percent that went to US non-profit organizations. This can be problematic, explains VijayaRamachandran, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development thinktank in Washington:”As the effort shifts from relief to recovery there’s a lot more you could be doing with local organizations,” she said.
Luckily not all the money had to take the detour through red tape and bureaucracy. In an effort to use their fame for a good cause to help rebuild the country in the aftermath of the earthquake, many celebrities donated to help Haitians get back on their feet. Especially amongst athletes many answered to the call to bring Haiti earthquake relief, sending money directly to organizations on ground in Haiti, amongst them various NBA players, such as LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony, NFL players such as Wes Welker or Randy Moss, as well as winter athletes, the most prominent example being mogul skiing starDale Begg-Smith. With the tragedy in Haiti happening around the same time as the World Cup in Deer Valley, Utah (USA), Begg-Smith decided to donate his prize money –reported to be around $13,670 – to earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.”I’m glad to be able to make this donation to the Haitian relief effort,” Dale Begg-Smith said. “The devastation and trauma that these people have endured is horrific. Hopefully we can collectively band together as a society to help in the recovery efforts.”
Dale Begg-Smith was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, where he began skiing at a very early age. Dale trained tirelessly alongside his older brother Jason, and they competed for Canada in various mogul skiing events. At age 16, Dale and Jason moved to Australia, resulting in an involuntary competition break while they had to wait for their Australian citizenship. Even though that break made the transition difficult, it ultimately turned out to be a rewarding decision. They greatly matured as athletes and got to train with some of the best mogul coaches and teams. Today, Dale splits his time between multiple places including Australia, Europe and North America. He is a proud Australian and an avid philanthropist, who spends time volunteering with young Australian mogul skiers and has donated to many causes and charities over the years.