Earthquakes In Haiti and Chile Beg The Question: Can We Mitigate Against Natural Disasters?
This morning (EST) the world was again startled by the news that Chile was rocked by an earthquake which according to reports was measured at 8.8 on the Richter Scale (a top 10 earthquake). To be expected in the period immediately after the earthquake there is a lot of confusion as the world try to paint a picture of the damage which the earthquake has caused. Countries in the Pacific Rim are on tsunami alert which is expected in the post-earthquake period.
Our prayers extend to all affected by this calamity.
Up to the time of posting this blog 147 people have been reported dead and unknown numbers remain buried under collapsed structures. The epicentre is being reported as 320 km from the capital Santiago which is reported to have a population of over 5 millions or a third of Chile’s population. Reports however suggest that the older cities bordering Santiago with older buildings have been affected more that the newer city of Santiago. Chile is a country use to earthquakes.
We are reminded that it is approaching two months since the devastating earthquake which rocked Port-au-Prince. In the Caribbean we are still trying to effectively mobilize a local relief effort and to move to the stage of having a conversation about reconstruction. Some BU family members have suggested the time has come to take decisions in Haiti which will be transformational. For too long Haiti, a proud Black country has had to endure unforgivable suffering.
As the Caribbean prepare to confront the next hurricane season, the question about what can we do to mitigate the damage to property and threat to life and limb looms large. If Barbadians are to judge by the way we responded in 2007 when there was a mild tremor, or the flooding which has seasonally shut the country down, there is reason for concern.
What is clear is the changing climatic conditions affecting the world, the Caribbean included. A drive on the West coast of Barbados in recent weeks raises alarms at the strong waves which have been battering our shoreline.