Earthquake In Haiti

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7.0 Earthquake In Haiti

7.0 Earthquake In Haiti


On January 12th, 2010, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 occurred in Haiti close to the capital, Port-Au-Prince. Tremors were felt in Dominican Republic and Cuba. The earthquake caused extensive damage to infrastructure. Power and telecommunications are severely disrupted. There is an international rescue operation underway, but damage to roads, ports, and the airport around Port-Au-Prince is making delivery of aid difficult. Healthcare systems are severely strained due to the large number of injuries and deaths, and widespread damage to health care infrastructure. Service delivery is hindered. (Watkins 2010)


The U.S. must also refocus on building the Haitian National Police (HNP), the country's only indigenous security force. The U.S. created the HNP in 1994, but the force was allowed to dwindle to 3,000 members before being rebuilt by the U.N. to the current level of 7,000 with a goal of 14,000 in 2011. Despite nearly two decades of international assistance, the HNP remains dysfunctional, corrupt and incapable of controlling crime and maintaining public order without the presence of U.N. forces. Included in the State Department's still unannounced policy review were plans for reforming the HNP development program. Hopefully, this review will provide the impetus and funding for change. Needed is the redesign and expansion of the HNP into a national security force with appropriate air, border and coastal control capability. In particular, the HNP, which was modeled on U.S. municipal police departments, needs a gendarmerie or constabulary force that is trained and equipped to handle civil disorder and to rapidly deploy to trouble spots around the country. The HNP must be equipped and trained to control the growing volume of narcotics trafficking from South America to the U.S. through the island. Haiti does yet not have a domestic "drug problem," but the threat that drug money and foreign criminals will exploit Haiti's current weakness to take over areas of the country is real and must be prevented. (Romero 2010)

As humanitarian requirements are fulfilled, an effective reconstruction effort in Haiti must immediately target the twin problems of unemployment and poverty. Removal of rubble and the rebuilding of transportation infrastructure, housing, businesses and government buildings will provide jobs, but will also draw people from the countryside into the already overcrowded and slum-ridden cities. After the earthquake, people streamed from the cities into the countryside where there was less damage, and food and water was ...
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