Haiti earthquake adds to woes of a benighted country

Source : http://www.guardian.co.uk

January 13, 2010 - Poorest country in the western hemisphere is ill equipped to deal with natural disasters.

The earthquake that has hit Haiti, raising fears that thousands have been killed, is the latest in a long line of natural disasters to befall a country ill equipped to deal with such events.

Hurricanes and flooding are perennial concerns for the poorest country in the western hemisphere, which has time and again been dependent on foreign aid in emergencies.

In 1963 hurricane Flora, the sixth deadliest Atlantic hurricane in history, devastated the island. The US weather bureau estimated the death toll at 5,000 and the cost of damage to property and crops at between $125m and $180m.

The country was struck by two disasters in 2004. In May heavy rains caused flooding that killed more than 2,000 people. Four months later mudslides and flooding caused by hurricane Jeanne, the 12th deadliest Atlantic hurricane, killed more than 3,000 people, mostly in the town of Gonaives.

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