Hurricane Sandy

A Lopsided Impact on a Lopsided World

October 30, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |


One of the elements of the “perfect storm” that hit the U.S. East Coast was Hurricane Sandy. Before reaching U.S. shores in southern New Jersey, Sandy’s wind and rain wracked the Caribbean, with particularly terrible impact on Haiti. As this article is written, the reported death toll from Hurricane Sandy in Haiti is 52. That is more than the number reported killed in the US, despite the fact that Haiti’s total population of about 10 million is less than a sixth that of the population of the U.S. affected by the “perfect storm.”

All these deaths were tragic. But it is not the case that the great disparity between the loss of life in Haiti and the U.S. is because the storm hit Haiti more severely. Instead the disparity was due to the man-made disaster of capitalism-imperialism, and the status of Haiti as an oppressed nation in a viciously and violently lopsided world.

Massive international intervention took place in Haiti after a devastating earthquake in 2010. But what “development” took place served the interests of global imperialism and its enforcers in Haiti, not the people of Haiti. Widespread homeless encampments—people who lost their homes in the earthquake—were literally pushed out of view. More than 400,000 still live in those encampments—more than two years after the earthquake. Haiti remains without the most rudimentary social services and disaster relief capability, and people remain in extremely tenuous living conditions. Many of the Sandy-related deaths in Haiti were the result of landslides in formerly forested areas where desperate people have cut trees for firewood in the aftermath of the earthquake, and more recently Hurricane Isaac. Widespread famine and the spread of diseases like cholera are expected in the days and weeks to come in Haiti.

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