With conditions in Haiti worsening, some experts in international development see an upside: an opportunity for the physically fractured nation to reform its economy and even its notoriously corrupt government. "National disasters, as awful as they are, you want to seize those moments, use that awful, awful opportunity, to strengthen the ability of national and local authorities to act for the benefit of their citizens," says a UN official.
Relief funds typically flow through aid groups rather than the Haitian government, but many officials see involvement of local authorities as crucial to recovery, the Washington Post reports. Adjusting US trade policies could brighten the overall economic picture, and ongoing attempts to accelerate debt relief should help. "It's terrible to look at it this way," says one expert, "but out of crisis often comes real change."