Disaster on repeat in Haiti
Haitians face devastation after two natural disasters hit the island. And what the tragedies have exposed about the country’s preparedness.
Last weekend, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake caused widespread destruction and death in Haiti. Then, torrential rain from Tropical Storm Grace hit the island. Now, Haitians are recovering from two back-to-back natural disasters while reeling from political turmoil caused by the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse last month. Caribbean bureau chief Anthony Faiola reports on how public officials and citizens living close to the epicenter of the earthquake are grappling with the compounded loss and tragedy.
When an earthquake hits, it’s not the quake itself that kills people — it’s often the rattled buildings that collapse with people inside, or on top of them. And in Haiti, earthquakes are more dangerous than in other countries, because buildings there aren’t designed to withstand them. Reginald Desroches is a Haitian American engineer and provost of Rice University. After Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, he traveled there about a dozen times to investigate why the damage was so severe and to figure out how to reinforce the structures that remained standing.
Listen to our episode on the assassination of Haiti’s president and how years of U.S. intervention in the Carribean country contributed to the chaos we’re seeing now.
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