Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How "Natural" was the Disaster of Jan. 12th, 2010?

"...just how 'natural' a disaster was the one that struck Haiti on January 12? What made Haiti peculiarly vulnerable to the quake, as it was vulnerable to the storms of 2004 and 2008? How much of this vulnerability was social, rather than natural, and caused by bad policies, foreign and homegrown? What is the role of massive development agencies, and their contractors, in rebuilding whole cities and towns? What are the proper roles for thousands of non-governmental agencies that give Haiti its equivocal nickname, 'the Republic of NGOs?'

These are old questions, both in Haiti and without, that often generate self-serving (and sometimes contradictory) responses and acrimonious debate. Even when the topic is seemingly innocuous- providing health care to the Haitian poor should be pretty uncontroversial- there is a great deal of discord and heat."

Paul Farmer in Haiti: After the Earthquake, pp. 117-18

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