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Natural Disasters In Haiti Essay

1703 words - 7 pages

Haiti’s economy also took a very hard hit from the 2010 earthquake. But the economy was not in good shape before the earthquake. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. According to the World Bank, Over half the population (54%) of 9.8 million people live in extreme poverty, living on less than $1 a day; 78% live on $2 or less a day” (Margesson and Taft-Morales). Poverty is even worse among the rural populations, with 69% of people living on less than $1 a day, and with 86% living on less than $2 a day. The Millennial Development Goal was established to eliminate extreme poverty (less than $1 a day) and hunger by 2015. In order for this to happen, the Gross Domestic ...view middle of the document...

Much of Haiti’s economy is based on agriculture, and the earthquake damaged many farms, which means that the economy and employment rates took a huge hit. In 2009, the unemployment rate was at 9.61%, but it quadrupled in 2010 after the earthquake to an astounding 40.6%. Unfortunately, the economy is still struggling, and much of that is due to how foreign aid has and continues to be handled by the Haitian government and other countries.
One of the biggest contributing factors to why Haiti was hit so hard by the earthquake is due to environmental circumstances. Haiti has one of the worst deforestation cases in the world, with 98% of its forests gone. Behind this deforestation is a vicious cycle. “You have a very rapacious cycle where dire poverty among the peasantry forces people to cut down trees to make charcoal to sell in the cities, and it feeds back on itself,” says Greg Beckett, who has done his dissertation on the current crisis in Haiti. The biggest contributor to deforestation is due to Haitians using trees to burn them for fuel or turning them into charcoal. The US Agency for International Development reports that 71% of all fuel used in Haiti is either wood or charcoal. This deforestation has led to terrible erosion in much of Haiti, which means that there is little natural protection when natural disasters strike. Because all of the forests are gone, there is no “natural buffer” (Than) against water, so often this leads to flooding. Haiti is more susceptible to landslides and flooding because they lack this natural barrier. When they are hit by these smaller floods and mudslides, more often than not, everything in its path is destroyed. This makes it difficult for the country to grow economically and environmentally. With the combination of the results of deforestation and the earthquake, Haiti took a devastating hit.
The immediate response by so many countries to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti was to pledge millions and billions of dollars. Over $9 billion had been pledged from individual, government, and corporate donations, yet a small portion of this has actually been used for relief efforts in response to the earthquake. This is due to the fact that much of the money went through international organizations and not to the Haitian government. In the past four years, Haiti has not made as much progress as one would hope they would have by now. The reason for the lack of progress despite the funds pouring in is due to the inefficient spending and lack of government involvement. “In the year after the earthquake, less than 1 percent of all foreign aid went to or through Haiti’s government, according to an analysis by the Washington-based Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)” (Kushner). This is where the problem lies in the lack of progress in Haiti following the earthquake. Of the $9 billion donated to the earthquake relief, 89.8% of the funds went to non-Haitian organizations, 9.6% went to the Haitian...

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