from the AP...
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Sean Penn remembers smelling dead bodies when he arrived in Haiti after the earthquake.from NPR:
But the Academy Award-winning actor says there's now music in those same streets even as the country faces many years of rebuilding.
Penn says "extraordinary" changes have happened since the January 2010 natural disaster killed more than 300,000 people and left about 1.5 million homeless.
He spoke Tuesday at a forum at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
The actor is an ambassador-at-large for Haiti's president and CEO of an aid group.
It started with a goal of bringing painkillers to victims and became an agency that manages a camp for displaced people and works to resettle them.
Former Haitian Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis and Army official Ken Keen joined Penn as panelists.
After a devastating earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, governments and foundations from around the world pledged more than $9 billion to help get the country back on its feet.
Only a fraction of the money ever made it. And Haiti's President Michel Martelly says the funds aren't "showing results."
Roughly 350,000 people still live in camps. Many others simply moved back to the same shoddily built structures that proved so deadly during the disaster.
Martelly says the relief effort is uncoordinated and projects hatched from good intentions have undermined his government. "We don't just want the money to come to Haiti. Stop sending money," he tells Shots. "Let's fix it," he says, referring the international relief system. "Let's fix it."
Disaster specialist Dr. Tom Kirsch from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine agrees with Martelly. "Clearly we saved lives," he says. "Clearly we put people in tents. Clearly we did all kinds of stuff. But at the same time the level of chaos and the overall ability to reach needy people, we don't know how well we did."
Kirsch, who's been in Haiti several times since the quake, added, "We could have written a check to everyone in Haiti for — I don't know — $10,000 a piece, which would support them forever rather than the way we spent it."