Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Comparing Haiti and Chile: 9.0 on the Poverty Scale

By Richard Stearns, Special to the Seattle Times THE earthquake that struck Chile early Saturday morning was 500 times more powerful than the one that ravaged Haiti less than seven weeks earlier. Yet the difference in death tolls and damage is even more striking: More than 200,000 Haitians perished in a matter of minutes, while the body count in Chile likely will not exceed 1,000. Many people are wondering why. Numerous scientists have been interviewed in recent days laboring to explain “subduction zones” and “tectonic plates.” But in a commentary for CNN, Dr. Colin Stark of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University demonstrated he grasps another, more significant reason for the shocking number of deaths in Haiti. “Poverty is what ultimately kills most people during an earthquake,” he writes. “Poverty means that little or no evaluation is made of […]

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