Haiti: Past, Present And Future
January 12, 2010, the world gasped yet again with the news of a 7.0 earthquake shattering Haiti. But this nation is no stranger to destruction or rebuilding its land. Since gaining independence in the early 19th century, Haiti has experienced a gamut of successes and disappointments.
FROM SLAVES TO FREE
Haiti has had a tumultuous history, plagued by domestic and international conflict, political violence, plenary dissention and uncontrollable acts of God, resulting in less than desirable living
Drug trafficking and rival gang violence add to the havoc Haitians live with on a daily basis. According to the CIA World Factbook, 80% of those residing in Haiti live under the poverty line with
54% in abject poverty. The vast majority, two-thirds, of the population's work is in agriculture, which is why natural disasters have a dire impact on the vitality of the country.
Haiti has experienced umpteen natural disasters: a storm killing 2,000 people in 1935, an almost equally morbid tsunami in 1946, Hurricane Flora in 1963, a flood killing 2,600 in 2004, mudslides and floods in 2007, and three hurricanes and a tropical storm in 2008. Most recently, a 7.0-magnitutde earthquake took more than 150,000 lives, the region's worst in 200 years. The New York Times reports that 250,000 people are homeless, and 200,000 residents have moved to the capital city's outlying areas.
CONTENTIOUS BURIAL RITUALS
Many bodies remain unaccounted for, elevating the world's concern with the country's burial and documentation procedures. Dishonorable displays of removing and disposing of the tens of thousands of
dead bodies has raised questions with pictures of tractors scooping them up and piling them in large holes. Some government officials have admitted to not counting the bodies amid removal.
REBUILD OR BUST
It will take years for Haiti to regain what has been lost, as so many times before. To ease the devastation, strangers from around the world have come alongside the Haitians to help with the restoration of their tiny shared island. Continuous help is needed as Haiti continues to find hope in an unfortunate context.
For more on helping and giving on SheKnows:Haiti earthquake: How to help
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