Responder's First Hand Report from Haiti-Unproven!

Responder’s First Hand Report from Haiti-Unproven!

Summary of eRumor:

This is a forwarded email with an account from Haiti by a rescue worker named Nick Brockhausen. After his return from the earthquake stricken Haiti he reported on what he called the incompetence of the United States Agency for International Development. The email also speaks negatively of the Obama Administration, The United Nations and the Haitian people.

The Truth:

Nick Brockhausen has not responded to our inquiries but this email may be a debrief or vent sent privately to friends or family members who forwarded it on to friends in their distribution list.

Brockhausen cited problems of what he regarded as incompetence of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) owing to lack of sanitation resources, security issues and language challenges. 

The email began circulating in late January 2010, weeks after a devastating  earthquake measuring over 7.0 on the Richter scale shook the Haitian capitol, Port Au Prince, for 35 seconds.   Over 100,000 lives have been reported lost by the natural disaster.    According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the USAID is the lead “U.S. Government office responsible for providing humanitarian assistance in response to international emergencies and disasters.”

Different versions of the email appeared on the internet, some blocking out the names, others saying the two responders returning from Haiti were doctors, dentists, ham radio operators or firemen. has confirmed that Brockhausen and the other person mentioned in the email, Dennis Hebler, are real and were part of the relief efforts in Haiti. 

Hebler told that this was not his opinion and that he was “focused on the job at hand and didn’t make any reference to anything else either good or bad.” He went on to tell us “As far as I am concerned the situation down there was overwhelming and it would have been difficult for anyone to have functioned at a high level of competence.”

According to their website, USAID is trained in the FEMA Incident Response System, a special series of special courses that all US law enforcement and emergency response agencies must learn.  This is the same training that was used by the US Coast Guard in relief efforts in the aftermath from Hurricane Katrina.  USAID also teaches the FEMA courseware to emergency responders internationally.  

It is not known if Haitian responders had been trained in the FEMA course prior to the earthquake.

Updated 02/17/10