Haiti’s Tragic Earthquake of 2010

It’s just unfathomable to me the scale of the impact the Haiti earthquake has had. If America had woken up with 2% of our population dead, and 10% homeless, the numbers would be 6.2 million to bury and 31 million to house.

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This photo-essay in today’s Washington Post on this weekend of prayer vigils held across Haiti is beautiful and touching. Out of this pain and loss, I pray — may God bless them with a road to peace and prosperity, and may we all do the needful not only now, but as a way of life, to assist.

4 thoughts on “Haiti’s Tragic Earthquake of 2010

  1. Rick Piel commented via FaceBook: It was America. 7.9 earthquake hit southern CA,Northwood,remember? Aging freeway collapsed,Old apt bldg destroyed. 22 dead. Tragic yes,but not 200,000 dead. Same earth quake in an even more populous area. What is the difference? Not an act of God. Haiti needs to look deep into their hearts. Poverty, No rule of law,unenforced construction codes and most of all,rampant indemic,systemic and multi generatioinal corruption killed 200,000 people,not the (very survivable) earthquake. This does not mean we should not help as much as possible,it’s simply stating a very important fact. Sun at 5:24pm ·

  2. Another friend commented via FaceBook: I think a more important fact than corruption (which is rampant in every developing country) is history. Haitian "backwardness" is more due to it being secluded from much of the world for a century, simply because it was the first free black republic. Haiti finally decided to pay reparations to France in the mid 1800s in exchange for a normalization of relations w the west. They didn’t pay this debt off until about 30 years ago. One of the tactics used to pay France money that it didn’t have (bc of forced isolation) was de-forestation-one of the many horrible decisions made by proxy governments set up by the United States. Governments that served the U.S.’s interests and the interests of the Haitian elite instead of those of the poor majority. Then there’s bad loans and "free trade" agreements set up by the IMF and the World Bank, and the two US backed coups of Aristide. The tragedy of Haiti is not any different than the rest of Latin America, it’s a history of western intervention and imperialism.

  3. Rick Piel replied via FaceBook: a cogent analasys. This is a complex problem with a simple answer that is extremely difficult to implement.Throw off the vestigases of colonialism Return all political power to the people who then must demand an end to corruption even if they benefit from it. Very Hard. The developed countries are not going to stop exploiting the 3rd world just because it’s right. And corrupt 3rd world govts aren’t going to stop profitting in the exploitation of their own people without years of hard bloody armed struggle. "there"s no Free Lunch" as the saying goes. None of this changes the fact that the same earthquake in CA only Killed 22 people

  4. There are a lot of factors at work in the Haiti death toll. But my inner techie points first to construction practices. Concrete is heavy and brittle. Wood frames are light and flexible.Why weren’t Haitians using wood-frame homes? Deforestation.Who was profiting because they were using concrete? American concrete companies.Why weren’t they using it well? The material is expensive so corners were often cut, literally, sand mixed in. Also, steel reinforcing bars were used less than they should because that’s expensive and imported too.This NY Times article begins to address it:http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/14/world/americas/14construction.htmlAnd this LA Times article points out that before 1950, just as many would have been dead in California.http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-me-quake-science14-2010jan14,0,1587916.storyIt's enough to make obvious that the dissemination and enforcement of technical standards on building construction is absolutely a human rights issue.

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