Tens of thousands of people died in a matter of seconds when a catastrophic earthquake hit Haiti last Tuesday. Now world focus turns to providing aid for the survivors.

UN officials fear that Haiti faces humanitarian disaster unless relief is distributed effectively, but aid workers are encountering difficulties getting respite to those who need it most.

With just one airport, aid trickles into Haiti. Once on the ground, relief distribution also becomes problematic because the country's already poor infrastructure has been devastated by the quake.

The US has been actively involved in helping distribute aid, working closely with the UN and the Haitian government.

Barack Obama, the US president, has pledged at least $100mn to rebuild Haiti - one of the largest relief campaigns in US history.

He has asked his two predecessors in the White House to lead America's fundraising campaign for Haiti.

But after decades of neglect, are world powers returning for an increased role in this poor country? And what price would Haitians pay for increased foreign assistance?

Inside Story presenter Imran Garda is joined by Patrick Bellegarde-Smith, a professor of Africology at the University of Wisconsin, Leara Rhodes, an associate professor of Journalism at the University of Georgia and author of the book Democracy and the Haitian Media, and Todd Kent, an assistant professor of political science and a scholar at the Bush School of Homeland Security.
This episode of Inside Story aired from Sunday, January 17, 2010.

Source: Al Jazeera