On air: Revisiting Haiti and Chile.

Haiti’s earthquake on January 12th lasted 35 seconds and resulted in around 200,000 deaths.

The Haitian government and international agencies estimate that Haiti will need $11.5bn (£7.55bn) to rebuild after the devastating earthquake.  

Chile’s seismic tremor on February 27th, was 500 times stronger, measuring 8.8 in magnitude, compared with Haiti’s 7.0.

Yet the number of casualties lay in the hundreds. There was far less physical damage to structures and phone lines in Santiago began operating again within hours.

While bloggers were quick to compare and contrast the two disasters, largely saying that Chile was better prepared for its quake, fundraisers, endorsed by celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, quickly mobilised to support those affected by both disasters. Disaster experts also praised the quick response from the rest of the world.

Now, over two months on from Haiti, and three weeks from Chile, new concerns are emerging about the large numbers of displaced people to rural regions and the looming rainy season in Haiti.

WHYS touch base with those in the two countries to speak to the people and hear what challenges lie ahead for them.

On today’s programme we have guests from both Chile and Haiti, who will be sharing their experiences from the ground, and connecting with each other. Here are the thoughts of some of the guests: Alex Winter, of the British Red Cross , will be speaking from the Cross’s base camp in Port au Prince. He says that “food and financial contributions are not of immediate concern, it is land allocation for the displaced. He will also talk about the concerns for the rainy season that starts in April and hurricane season that starts in June.

Line Wolf Nielsen will be talking from SOS Children’s Village in Santo. (Photo credited to Line Wolf Nielsen from SOS Children’s Village).
She has been looking after the 33 children who the American missionaries were accused of abducting in the aftermath of the quake. Today, they will be reunited with their parents.

WHYS will be reconnecting with Chilean husband and wife, Pablo and Soledad Grollmus. The couple were separated during the quake, with Pablo stranded in Santiago and Soledad in Atlanta. They will speak of the many aftershocks in Chile, one “measuring 7.7 in magnitude, larger than the Haitian quake“. There will also be opportunity for those in Chile to connect with Haiti and share experiences. Dr Natalie Phaerd, a Haitian doctor in Port au Prince, will be speaking with Chilean medical student Jorge from Santiago.

21 Responses to “On air: Revisiting Haiti and Chile.”

  1. 1 valeria riveros
    March 17, 2010 at 15:15

    The world response has been very good in my Country, Chile. We have been receiving lots of support from several Countries and International organisations. People from devastated cities are getting food and essential appliances for surviving.

    I think in Chile external aid is needed, and crucial, but it’s very good to point out that our Country is expecting the help from the Chileans companies not just from the external, ‘cos we know that some Chilean Companies can support our country well, providing all elements we need to rebuild Chile. Also it’s important to highlight that in my country we have good economical resources given by the copper, which has shown an increase…so, I think, it is not so serious the situation in Chile ( comparing with Haiti, obviously).. I think we can pull it off well.

  2. March 17, 2010 at 15:18

    The two catastrophes have so much in common in scale and the consequent suffering. The outpouring of sympathy and the dedication shown by aid agencies, prominent world figures to help the displaced and the needy are noteworthy. Despite the suffering and loss of life, humanity lives on with kind souls ensuring that people do not suffer more than is necessary. The catastrophes brought the best and the worst out of people especially when you consider the looting of shops for food, provisions, and other articles. Perhaps the United Nations should be better prepared to send in emergency supplies with troops to guard those supplies. Some leaders really showed their mettle Ex-President Clinton stands out for his tireless efforts to help the Haitians.

  3. 3 Nigel
    March 17, 2010 at 15:23

    No comments is a big comment. The whole thing has become too politicised and not enough focus was initially put on the human tragedy which still continues with Haiti the bigger of the two..

  4. 4 Ahmed Abdulkadir, Nairobi.
    March 17, 2010 at 15:28

    Hi the WHYS team. I realy sympathise with the Haitian and Chilean earthquake victims. As much as its humane to help them, its appalling and shameful to see that some so called christian missionaries disguised as charities taking advantage of the victims’ helpless situation to christianize them by offering basics as well as audacious kidnappings of children. To me this is more serious than any other other tragedy because the victims are choosing between HELL and HEAVEN!

  5. 5 Ibrahim in UK
    March 17, 2010 at 16:00

    I am always in awe of those who dedicate their lives to helping other people, and those who volunteer their time and take long breaks from work to also assist people in their hour of need, regardless of nationality, politics, race, religion or any other differences. We are all just humans in the end. Every human has a heart and has the capacity for compassion. I pray that mankind moves to show this compassionate side more often.

  6. 6 T
    March 17, 2010 at 16:13

    The sad truth (in both cases) is that political manipulation will always be involved. When will the American troops and aid workers leave Haiti? Nobody knows. In Chile, it wouldn’t surprise me if the same thing happened.

    There’s the Big Name Hollywood Fundraiser to Benefit the Victims of ______. And then there’s reality.

  7. March 17, 2010 at 16:36

    I am firmly below the poverty line, and have been my entire adult life. Whenever I hear about these disasters, I always think of the children, because raising three of my own on very little happened only with state and federal assistance. When I first heard of the “kidnapped” children, then the explanations, and now of the reuniting, it made me wonder. In the U.S. we read the newspaper stories of several of the parents who willingly gave their children up for adoption (or sale, whatever), and it seemed unthinkable to my neighbors. I’ve been there people, and it is not. I’m not certain that if I was one of the mothers, I would not be in despair now, at the result of this law case. I desperately hope for the best for these children, as I believe the existing mothers and fathers did the first time around.

  8. 8 nora
    March 17, 2010 at 16:54

    What are the political dynamics that are emerging from the crises? Chile just had world leaders looking at the roof wondering if it would fall during the inauguration of a billionaire and Haiti has been a mess for awhile. It is early days, but what are people saying on the street?

    What has helped the most, what is needed the most?

  9. March 17, 2010 at 17:17

    In this situations, our courage and altruism is tested. We Latinamericans have proven to be one solidary big nation, united by language and culture, ready to hold each others back.
    What makes me extremelly proud is the will of young people to take responsabibity in theses situations. One proof is the NGO Un Techo para mi Pais (I’m a volunteer), who already built dozens of homes in Haiti and is doing so in Chile.

    Ban Ki-moon said to volunteers in the NGO’s Headquaters in Chile:

    “It’s good to know these young people who stand against the tragedy. I am sure that with your courage and strength are going to build a better Chile. I am here to express my sympathy and tell them that the UN stands behind you to rebuild the country. It is encouraging to see so many young people working in UTPMP, a noble initiative. It’s inspiring to see young people commit themselves for their country and progress of the world. This world belongs to you. You are the leaders of the Chilean society and the world ”

    As young educated people and future leaders of Latinamerica it is crucial to commit with our continent, to seek the faces and names hidden behind each disaster or catastrophe.

  10. 10 Clamdip
    March 17, 2010 at 17:51

    The estimates are way too high. Labor costs are cheap in Haiti why so expensive? Can’t countries loan heavy equipment to Haiti for 5 years and give them breaks on cement, wood, nails, screws? Can’t outdoor, tent schools be set up that teach children in the day then teach builders at night? Countries should do a lot to train the local population so that money isn’t thrown into a black hole. The level of corruption is astounding even after the earthquake. I would hire a cadre of architects/urban planners and Hitian school children to come up with a viable solution which includes building codes and style then divide up Haiti into different zones, China the East, USA the West, Europe the South, Pacific Regions the North then have them train the Haitians to build it. If buildings are built under budget then you’ll win a little more money for landscaping projects. Let the world show off their best talents and educate Haitians in seismic, green building practices along the way. Haiti could become the showpiece of of sustainable living and that I can assure you won’t cost bizillions to achieve.

  11. March 17, 2010 at 17:58

    Haiti had already been devastated by poverty before the earthquake stroke.

    1-In its aftermath, how efficient and helpful was the international community?

    2-Does Haiti still receive consistent help?

    3- Concerning security, how is it following the case of the biggest jail break in which more than 5,000 prisoners escaped, among whom there were hundred of very dangerous ones?

    4- How is the problem of child trafficking tackled in Haiti as there have been reports about this?

  12. 12 patti in cape coral
    March 17, 2010 at 18:28

    It seems that donating doesn’t seem to make the wheels turn any faster. I commend aid workers who so often work under such trying and frustrating circumstances.

  13. 13 Phyllis
    March 17, 2010 at 18:35

    Question :
    Exactly what is need regarding the impending rains.
    We have sent tents and medical supplies but would like to how we could help now.

  14. 14 Eugenio Palomo
    March 17, 2010 at 18:54

    I would like to post the question about the plans for Haiti. Are there any ongoing plans to prepare the population for the hurricane season? I know the Mexican government built hundreds of prefabricated concrete structures to be used as shelters, specifically for the State of Yucatan. Those structures served as homes as well. I know they are still there, but haven’t hear of anything like that for Haiti.

  15. 15 William Rojas
    March 17, 2010 at 19:12

    I’ve been in in NYC for a while, and i wasn’t in Chile when this happened even though i’m chilean, and let me tell you that this has been one of the most difficult expieriences i have ever gone through. i came down to work only, and i’m in college back in Chile, but this has been truly tough. One hour after the earthquake, i tried to get my family on the web, and nothing; My friends, nothing; The news, nothing; in other words, everything came down!. I was up all night, and later, at 7am (-4GMT), the news finally could broadcast sth from Santiago, which is the city i live in. I tried to get in touch with my parents, but nothing yet. I was on the web when suddenly i found somebody saying: “Does anybody want me to call anybody from Chile?”, She was from Perù, and she halped me out to get information about my parents and my family: they were OK.

    We do need help, `cos it’s difficult for a government like mine to handle such a mess. it’s incredible all i’ve seen on Tv!. If i had to vote wether or not people from other countries could help us, i’d say “Yes, why not?.”


  16. 16 Bert
    March 17, 2010 at 19:36

    I was puzzled by Ros’ account of the happy day, as the “kidnapped children” are reunited with their families. It seems, the truth behind that story was not plainly divulged during today’s WHYS program.

    At the time of their arrest, I couldn’t figure out why these missionaries were so seemingly unperturbed. It turned out, even though what they were doing was not condoned by the local laws, the parents of the children had handed them over. So, now that the kids are (finally, by the way, how long has it been!) going back home, did anyone bother to ask the parents how they feel about their vain attempt to give their kids a brighter future?

    Haiti is still in desperate straits. The kids are probably happy, as kids would be. The parents?

    Not that I agreed with the missionaries and their unbridled zeal.

  17. 17 nora
    March 17, 2010 at 19:56

    It is really important that the voices you have on today are all willing to share their stories . Good health to all.

    World voices having their say when they are in the cross-hairs trumps our opinions on generalizations. This is good radio.

  18. 18 Clamdip
    March 17, 2010 at 20:03

    Why not have an architectural contest to design a good, modern looking home with water storage that can be erected in a week. You get a free house if you help build your neighbor’s home. The homes should be relatively simple to construct with borrowed tools similar to a home that comes in a box like IKEA’s furniture. If communities organized into pools of talent like rubble clearers, concrete foundation teams, frame builders, electricians, plumbers, roofers etc. Teams could work assembly line fashion until projects are completed. Each community could build a community room to learn various building and water treatment skills. The room could double as a temporary school. I think you should be able to build an architecturally pleasing, green house for around $3,000 including water storage. Building should be modular so families can expand as income improves. This would be way below the bizillions estimated. The money should be better spent on education, transportation and a strong medical infrastructure. All of these other ideas are corrupt, grandiose fluff. Oversight is essential. If you come up short of concrete or your allotted amount. Security will investigate.
    Haiti needs to exploit its labor in the absence of money. Organize and produce. That takes brain and physical capital not heaps of money.

  19. 19 Subhash C Mehta
    March 18, 2010 at 08:47

    WHYS is doing a commendable job; Our best wishes are with them. Hope they can help to lay stress and prompt for simultaneous action on immediate/urgent measures (the looming weather-related problems and health-care) and initiation of long -term action on rebuilding of the infrastructures, starting with the basic utilities (housing, distribution of food/water, sanitation etc.).

  20. 20 @guykaks
    March 18, 2010 at 12:43

    As much i we talk about Haiti and chile,the Humanitarian organisations should be vetted and accountability on seen on the donations.I feel much of the contributions went to the rich and those who never really needed.So accountability first!

  21. 21 Amara from Nigeria
    March 19, 2010 at 11:09

    These catastrophe of unthinkable magnitude that’s has struck Haiti and Chilie calls for urgent attention to countries that are potentially vulnerable.I was compassionately moved when primary school students in Haiti were being interviewed after the earthquake.Countries and relevant agencies should give more aid for the sake of these little ones who are the future of these two nations.This shouldn’t be politicized by whosoever.

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