Disaster disadvantage [infographic]

Last year’s catastrophic earthquake in Haiti was all-consuming for a time, dominating the news and mobilizing compassion from all corners of the world. During those first few months, it was hard to imagine that Haiti’s suffering could fall off the radar.

But shortly after Haiti’s one-year anniversary came fresh disasters—New Zealand’s earthquake and Japan’s quake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis. Scenes of destruction in formerly functional cities, tragic stories, and the threat of radiation riveted media attention and provoked fears that something this bad could happen to us. (And then it did, with last month's killer storms and tornadoes in the U.S. South.)

The cover of the Summer 2011 World Vision Magazine delivers a message about Haiti that at one time would have seemed inconceivable: Forget Me Not. The cover story explains what was different and extraordinarily difficult about Haiti’s disaster response and addresses the very valid question of why things are still in such rough shape there, 16 months later.

Comparisons can sometimes bring clarity. This infographic on page 22 of the Summer 2011 magazine lines up disasters in Haiti, New Zealand, and Japan, examining factors such as preparedness, economic realities, and the national government’s ability to respond -- factors that, to a greater extent than magnitude and epicenter, affect a quake’s severity.

The data (which was changing even as we worked on this summer's issue) inevitably drives to Haiti’s death toll, which was at least eight times higher than Japan’s highest estimates, and 1,000 times greater than New Zealand’s fatalities. The bottom line: poverty magnifies a disaster’s impact exponentially and cripples people’s ability to rebound.

Crises will keep coming, but please, don’t forget Haiti.

Read related posts about World Vision's disaster response in the U.S. South and Japan.


    I'm living in Jamaica i heard it was felt here but I didn't feel it, To think we are so close to Haiti an weren't affected, I must be greatful

    I am soo excited,I am a new sponser for a little girl named Lucealinda in Haiti. I am looking forward to get her information. God has really Blessed World Vision's success,I am glad to be a part of it.

    That is what I thought. Haiti has and has had such poverty it had to be the worst death toll. As Christians we are rejoicing for the missionaries who have spread the news of Jesus in this poor country.

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