onsdag 20 januari 2010

Earthquake and its aftermath

I had no idea that Haiti was in an earthquake zone until it happened. The last big one was in 1842, so it was bound to be unexpected. But the pictures are familiar - concrete buildings collapsed in piles of rubble with people trapped between the heavy slabs.

In wealthy countries in earthquake zones, modern high-rise buildings are constructed using special devices to minimise the effects when the earthquakes happen. But this is not the only way to prevent loss of life in earthquakes. Traditional Japanese buildings were constructed of lightweight materials. These were vulnerable to fires and storms, but they were low buildings and nobody got squashed under the paper panels. There seems to be a need to develop low-tech and inexpensive methods of earthquake-resistant building construction.

Shooting the looters
A disturbing feature of the present catastrophe is the number of people who are being shot for looting. Do the authorities take the view that the protection of property should take precedence over the needs of starving people? Surely the right approach would have been for the authorities to requisition and distribute supplies?

Rotten state of the country
Also revealed is the rotten state of the country. How is it that there are so many dirt-poor people in a land in which the USA has been heavily involved for so long? It is not, by any chance, a consequence of the USA's involvement?

3 kommentarer:

stpetric sa...

>>How is it that there are so many dirt-poor people in a land in which the USA has been heavily involved for so long? It is not, by any chance, a consequence of the USA's involvement?<<

I'm not aware that the US is any more heavily involved in Haiti than in other Caribbean countries, yet they're *all* more prosperous than Haiti is. If anything, I would think the US is *less* involved there, because of the cultural differences stemming from Haiti's French colonial heritage. And, frankly, because Haiti offers little that the US needs.

Physiocrat sa...

Apart from Canada, all the countries in close proximity to the US seem to have obscene divisions between rich and poor, and many have a history of political instability. Is this mere coincidence?

stpetric sa...

>>Apart from Canada, all the countries in close proximity to the US seem to have obscene divisions between rich and poor, and many have a history of political instability.<<

You could be describing third world countries anywhere in the world. What they have in common more than proximity to the US is a corrupt local elite, a colonial history, and an economy dominated by one sector.

Lord's Prayer changed

“The problem is that the Orthodox Churches will continue with what has been given and the un-Churched will continue with what has always bee...