Crisis Response4 min read

            As for most countries in the world, development is the ultimate goal.  All wish to improve their situation year after year.  However, often times a wrench can be thrown into their systems which are disasters.  Natural disasters can be a developing country’s nightmare as not only does it require a large amount of wealth to help rebuild from the damage done, but it requires strength of state in order to determine how to deal with the situation at hand.  We see the aftermath of many of these disasters in the news and frequently the United States might step in to lend a helping hand, this is more so true when developing countries encounter a disaster, i.e. Haiti in 2010.

            Just a few weeks ago, November 26, 2019, Albania was struck with a 6.4 magnitude earthquake.  According to the Albanian Red Cross, 31 people were killed during this event.  It marks the deadliest earthquake to hit Albania since 1979, where a 6.9 magnitude earthquake killed over 120 people.  Albania is a moderately strong and mostly free state.  Unlike the poor Haiti, Albania has developed infrastructure and residential buildings.  Due to these advancements, they, no doubt, prevented the death toll from escalating any further.  Also, because of the state strength of Albania, search and rescue operations were immediately organized following the initial shock.  Dogs, drones, and a variety of different equipment were deployed to find survivors.  Other nearby countries also pitched in to help such as Serbia, Italy, Turkey, and other Balkan states.  However, the rescue and rebuilding attempts were halted when a series of aftershocks struck the following day.  Thousands of Albanians have now been displaced, many of which are holed up in public areas like sports stadiums.  Even though modern developments helped the rescue efforts be organized and efficient, the economy of Albania is where the people will suffer the most.  Holding one of the lowest GDPs per capital in Europe, rebuilding could leave many Albanians without homes.  Though the economy is lacking in some departments, Albania still showed it was capable in terms of immediate response.  The state responded suite, issuing rescue teams to locate survivors and clean up rubble, and moving all displaced citizens into secure locations where they could receive care.  For many developed governments, crisis like earthquakes require a routine, predetermined solution, but is entirely capable of carrying one out.  For developing countries, natural disasters like earthquakes provide a serious problem.

            One example of a very popularized disaster through the media was the earthquake in Haiti in 2010.  Haiti is a weak state that is one of the lowest ranked countries in the America’s region based on freedom.  Not only is it not very free, but its economy is also suffering.  Haiti remains one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere and has an extremely high poverty statistic.  The effectiveness of the government directly correlates to the rebuilding of Haiti after the earthquake.  January 12, 2010 at 4:53 pm, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, which is the most violent it had seen since the 18th century.  It was struck by two aftershocks at magnitudes at 5.9 and 5.5, respectively.  Several more aftershocks struck in the following providing insult to injury as Haitians struggled to recover from just the first earthquake.  Haiti saw much destruction.  Because much of the country is very poor, most housing structures are built fairly unstable and many shanty towns are present.  Not only is the infrastructure poor, but so is the economy.  Because of the low wealth of the country, they do not have a concrete crisis response plan put in place.  So, after the earthquake, everything was left in disrepair.  Buildings were all but destroyed, the city was still recovering from two previous hurricanes and was ill-equipped for the earthquake, and the state was unable to provide necessities like food and water to survivors who had lost everything.  At this point, Haiti had no choice but to turn to international allies to assist with reparations.  But, Haiti is still suffering from the aftermath of the earthquake and still is a very poor and weak state.

            For crisis response, the strength of the state is everything.  State strength will determine how effective crisis response plans and personnel are put into place.  For Albania, the response efforts were immediately deployed to the affected areas to assist with rescue and were even able to provide survivors with basic necessities after the fact.  Even when they received a curveball with the aftershocks, the response still acted appropriately.  The strong infrastructure prevented all buildings from totally collapsing.  But, in a case like Haiti, their poor government prevented them from having the proper crisis response plan, and the nation suffered.

Sources

Dwyer, Colin. “’Everything We Have Is Destroyed’: Albania Mourns After Deadly Earthquake.” NPR, NPR, 27 Nov. 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/11/27/783286554/everything-we-have-is-destroyed-albania-mourns-after-deadly-earthquake.

Pallardy, Richard. “2010 Haiti Earthquake.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 1 Apr. 2019, https://www.britannica.com/event/2010-Haiti-earthquake.

1 thought on “Crisis Response<span class="wtr-time-wrap after-title"><span class="wtr-time-number">4</span> min read</span>”

  1. Very interesting read. It’s very intriguing to analyze how tough self-improvement can be on nations who have been direly affected by natural disasters that are out of their control. Many countries are unable to act upon natural disasters due to poverty or lack of resources on a nation’s behalf. Many of those countries have to seek out the assistance of foreign powers, which is not easy. I like how you tied in the Haiti earthquake. Haiti is, I believe, the poorest country on Earth. The earthquake was devastating for them, especially considering there was very little they could do in response. You’re final point is definitely correct. The only states that are able to recover from crises are those with solid state strength.

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