According to the latest estimates, the earthquake could have caused 100,000 deaths in the poorest country in the Western hemisphere.
The home of the world’s first and only successful slave revolt and the Western hemisphere’s first post-colonial black nation, Haiti was still struggling to recover from the four hurricanes that hit it in 2008 when around 1,000 people died and 800,000 were left homeless. Reports state that most of those who have escaped with their lives have spent their first night without any shelter, some even sleeping amongst dead bodies and this is likely to continue, whilst hundreds or possibly thousands are buried alive underneath the devastation.
This disaster is not only shocking in scale but especially shocking because of the inability of Haiti to help itself. Haitians have been struggling with chronic unemployment affecting 75% of the population, 70% without adequate access to sanitation; 78% of the population live on a meagre $2 a day (the so-called absolute poverty threshold). All this plus coups and civil wars have brought intermittent political stability since 1990.
Though Obama and many leaders in the international community have pledged emergency rescue assistance, and as I write NGOs and charities descend to deliver most-needed emergency relief. It will take more than this to help Haiti into a stronger nation, but international aid and interference in the past has moved Haiti away from policies that would have delivered a higher minimum wage and agricultural strength to provide food self-sufficiency to the policies of further impoverishment to stimulate “foreign investment”.
These problems however must be tackled another day, for now do we should do all we can to help Haiti.
The Multicultural Politic is Stephen Fry proof thanks to caching by WP Super Cache