OVER 1,000 people have died in Haiti as a result of floods and landslides in the wake of Hurricane Jeanne. Tens of thousands more are now at risk as epidemics threaten the country.
But this so called natural disaster is anything but. The storms that lashed Haiti also hit the Dominican Republic, its neighbour in the Caribbean. Yet the deaths in the Dominican Republic were numbered in the dozens.
Deforestation is the reason behind this disparity. The border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic can be seen from the air—it’s green on one side, brown on the other.
Neo-liberal economic policies forced on Haiti by the World Bank and the IMF have resulted in around 97 per cent of its natural forest being hacked down. That is why the floods caused such havoc.
UN “peacekeeping” forces have done little or nothing to prevent the humanitarian disaster sparked by Hurricane Jeanne. Nor did they do anything in the wake of similar floods in May this year, which killed 2,000.
Billions of dollars of international “aid” have poured into Haiti. But it has been directed to “security” and the private sector, rather than being used for much needed land reform.
The IMF plan for Haiti is to drive peasants off the land and turn the country into a vast pool of cheap labour for manufacturing industry. There will be more “natural” disasters in the country if this policy is not reversed.
For more information on Haiti go to the Haiti Support Group website at www.haitisupport.gn.apc.org