Following closely on Haiti's disaster
, the earthquake in Chile was stronger
inflicted far less damage. Why? Chile's infrastructure is better, observers say--but luck, population density, and differences in corruption also played a part.
- The Difference: Corruption Time's Tim Padgett
notes that "on the global corruption index put out by Transparency
International ... Chile ranks 25th and Haiti 168th." The Chilean
government mandated "rigorous [building] codes ... requiring that
materials like rubber and features like counterweights be built into
the architectural designs to allow buildings to bend and sway rather
than break during temblors." Meanwhile, in Haiti, building involved
"little if any input from engineers and plenty of bribes to so-called
government inspectors." Padgett rebuts "apologists" who think it unfair
to compare the two countries: It's not that "Chile can do things right ... because it's more developed," but that "Chile is more developed because it's doing things right." Aid
to Haiti, he argues, needs to include terms for improving its "abysmal
- A Number of Differences "The Haitian disaster," says Joshua Robinson
at The Daily Beast, "leveled the dense, urban capital of a
poverty-stricken nation, filled with shoddy buildings that were lucky
to be standing in the first place. Chile's ... struck a less densely
populated area in a country that was better prepared." Also, aside from
there better emergency measures in place, "there are many more ways to
get help into the country--Chile has the advantages of functional
airports and not being an island."
- A Bit of Luck, Too Though Chile's earthquake was stronger, observes Frank Bajak
at The Huffington Post, it was also "centered offshore an estimated 21
miles (34 kilometers) underground in a relatively unpopulated area
while Haiti's tectonic mayhem struck closer to the surface--about 8
miles (13 kilometers)--and right on the edge of Port-au-Prince." Add
that to Chile's relative wealth and "long history of handling seismic
catastrophes" and the difference in damage is little surprise.
- Tragic Injustice, mourns an indignantly irate Gilbert Mercier
at News Junkie Post. "What is really in the balance here, between a few thousands killed, in
the case of Chile, and the 230,000 people in the case of Haiti is the
disparity and humanely despicable injustice between 1st world nations
such as Chile and 3rd world's ones such as Haiti."
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