Socialist Worker

Earthquake causes new devastation across Haiti

As Haiti is struck by earthquakes, Sam Ord explores the damage that imperialism has done

Issue No. 2768

Devastation in Haiti

Devastation in Haiti (Pic: Wikicommons/ Voices of America)


As rescuers rummage through the rubble searching for survivors, officials in Haiti have confirmed at least 1,297 people have been killed and 5,700 injured by last Saturday’s earthquake.

The huge 7.2 magnitude ­earthquake had a devastating effect on Haiti, just as tropical storm Grace was expected to hit the country.

Vast amounts of infrastructure including schools, water pipes and homes were all destroyed.

Stronger

Saturday’s earthquake was stronger than the one that occurred in 2010, killing around 230,000 people. It has had a stronger effect on the west of the nation in the provinces of Grand’Anse, Nippes and Sud.

The number of people missing remains unknown as search and rescue attempts escalate.

As rescuers attempted to save people, a further tremor ­reaching 5.8 magnitude was recorded. This set back many of the rescue attempts.

In the south west city of Les Cayes, local people attempted to pull bodies from a collapsed hotel. But the material was so dense and heavy they only discovered one body—a seven year old girl.

Archdeacon Abiade Lozama, the head of an Anglican church in Les Cayes, told the New York Times, “The streets are filled with ­screaming. People are searching for loved ones or resources, medical help, water.”

Haiti is one of the world’s poorest countries. US intervention following the 2010 earthquake has left a legacy of poverty and political crisis—especially after the ­assassination of the Haitian president last month.

Haiti undoubtedly needs ­international aid, but if it arrives in the form of more US soldiers, imperialism and army bases as it did in 2010 we can expect Haiti’s turmoil to continue.

A history of oppression and revolt in Haiti
A history of oppression and revolt in Haiti
  Read More

As Afghanistan should remind us, military intervention is never the solution. Haiti has been smashed by decades of imperialism. The US military supported the brutal dictatorship of Francois Duvalier in 1957 and US marines invaded in 1959 to prop him up.

In 1991, a US-backed coup ­overthrew Jean-Bertrand Astride, who had been elected on left wing, anti-imperialist promises.

The US only restored him after he agreed to its demands—then backed another coup against him in 2004.

Haiti’s new prime minister Ariel Henry has declared a state of emergency. Elections due to take place in the upcoming months are likely to be set back.

The real solution was seen in 2019 when Haitians rose in revolt against the US-backed regime of president Jovenel Moise.

They destroyed several police headquarters, attacked residences of government officials, and burned a jail and courts to the ground.

In the capital Port-au-Prince’s wealthier neighbourhoods of Delmas and Petion Ville, angry crowds looted several stores, banks and money transfer offices, cash machines and pharmacies.

More resistance is needed to pull Haiti out of poverty.


Covid crisis spreads and hits children in US

Health authorities say 1,902 children are hospitalised with Covid in the US and coronavirus cases are hitting record highs as the delta variant takes hold.

The spread is greater among the unvaccinated part of the population, particularly in the southern states.

Now the state of Florida accounts for a fifth of the US total, with around 16,100 cases on the wards. Children currently make up 2.4 percent of hospitalisations there. The US Centre for Disease Control said that every county in the states of Connecticut and Massachusetts is experiencing high or substantial transmission rates.

Top health officials say the US could soon see more than 200,000 new Covid cases every day and some 90 million people are still unvaccinated.

Many hospitals are already on the brink of collapse. One CNN journalist reported that hospitals have resorted to putting beds in “parking structures” and cafeterias.

But they simply don’t have enough doctors and nurses to take care of the patients.


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