The Haiti earthquake and the arrival of a tropical storm strike a country that has long been in a deep crisis. It is the poorest country in Latin America, governmental chaos and the scars of the great 2010 earthquake are still visible.
The fact that the country is affected by severe earthquakes is because it is precisely on a geological fault line. Two earth plates lie below the northern and southern parts of land. The 2010 earthquake had a force of 7.0, that of yesterday 7.2.
Les Cayes residents tell the city has been destroyed. Survivors are busy searching:
Estimates of the number of deaths from the 2010 quake vary widely. From less than 100,000 to over 300,000 as the government claimed. For the time being, more than 300 people were killed in yesterday‘s earthquake and at least 1,800 people were injured.
In addition to the likelihood of earthquakes, tropical storms and hurricanes are frequently hit by tropical storms and hurricanes, which caused more than a thousand deaths from Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and the tropical storm Grace is expected to pull over the affected area on Monday. It is feared that heavy rains on Monday and Tuesday can lead to floods and possible mud flows.
Gert Oostindie, director of the Royal Institute of Languages and Ethnology, told DecceIT in 2016 that poverty in Haiti also affects nature. “Agriculture is often very primitive, which is little invested in. All that primitive farming has resulted in a baldblow on that country. Everything has been excavated, and with those huge downpours everything slips away.”
At the same time, the country is still working to address the consequences of the 2010 earthquake damage. Many believe that reconstruction is also hampered by ongoing local corruption. The billions that international organizations promised in 2010 would not have been well spent. On social media, people are now calling not to deposit money to the American Red Cross:
Those people refer to a 2015 article about $500 million raised for help to Haiti, but which is unclear where it landed.
A spokeswoman for the Dutch Red Cross is familiar with the story. “This is indeed an article that comes back more often. The American Red Cross has shared extensive accountability on their site of how the money was spent in which every year reported what happened to the money.”
According to the spokeswoman, after that earthquake, a pilot was set up for housing that built six houses. After that pilot it was decided to arrange the shelter in a different way. “What has been stuck with some people is those six houses.”
Rescue after a natural disaster has the same pattern, says the spokeswoman. “There’s acute distress, everyone is in a state of shock. When people catch a little breath and see the devastation, they think okay, what next? If help is less visible then there may be dissatisfaction.”
In addition to the violence of nature, Haiti suffers from political unrest that has been going on for a long time. Last month President Jovenel Moïse was murdered in his house. Ariel Henry was officially appointed the country‘s new prime minister at the end of last month. Henry replaces the resigned interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who had taken office to him with the support of police and military after the murder of Moïse.
More than a month after the murder of Haitian President Moïse, a judge was appointed to lead the judicial investigation into the case. Previously, several investigative judges had refused the assignment, possibly for fear of threats.
Joseph told Henry at his appointment that he inherited a “special position”: “a political crisis without precedent, growing uncertainty and a gloomy socio-economic situation.” The moment he said this, yesterday’s earthquake had to happen.