by Christi Elflein
Haiti is a country that has suffered for decades with widespread poverty, political corruption, environmental destruction, and natural disasters. Last week’s earthquake was devastating and made worse by the situation it was already in. The Haitians desperate situation has lead to 97% deforestation in the country, which has led to a lack of wood available to construct buildings properly. The poorly built buildings crumbled when the earthquake hit, taking thousands of lives.
Following is a link to a New York Times piece filmed three weeks before the earthquake. It highlights the links between poverty, natural resource mismanagement and the consequences that have occurred from past natural disasters and from last week’s earthquake.
As devastating as this earthquake is, it is an opportunity for the Haitians to have their problems brought to the forefront of the world. It is an opportunity for us, as Americans, to see how the country has been going in the wrong direction and how we can help to turn this pattern around. Along with rebuilding efforts, restoration of the country’s natural resources, namely reforestation, will also need to occur.
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