TIME Magazine has a theory that’s so awesome, they wouldn’t want to invalidate it by thinking. The reason the Haiti earthquake was so terrible and the Chilean earthquake so less terrible, they say, is because of corruption:
In recent decades, Chile has mandated earthquake-proofing for new structures, requiring that materials like rubber and features like counterweights be built into the architectural designs to allow buildings to bend and sway rather than break during temblors. Haiti, by contrast, lets its buildings rise with little if any input from engineers and plenty of bribes to so-called government inspectors. Structures have scant reinforcement and are often set on weak foundations. That’s why 13 of 15 federal ministry buildings pancaked in the Jan. 12 earthquake — and why, in 2008, 91 students and teachers died when their school in a Port-au-Prince suburb collapsed. The school’s owner was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after admitting he barely even used mortar to hold its concrete blocks together.
Sounds great! Straight-forward! Cue the public policy admonishments for the administration of aid money to a country full of thieves! Because there couldn’t be another side to this. Could there?
To be fair, Haiti has had far less experience with earthquakes, and therefore earthquake preparedness, than Chile has. (Before Jan. 12, the last major quake to hit Port-au-Prince was in 1751.)
OK, so you’re the poorest country in the world, haven’t had a major earthquake in 260 years, and somehow you’re supposed to enforce construction codes that require buildings to come with counterweights. You know, just in case.
Yeah, we can totally blame the Haitians for this one.