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How have other Latinamerican countries handled natural disasters?

Faced with the devastation caused by the San Andrés y Providencia hurricane, we investigated other cases about how governments attempt to rebuild from disasters .

View of a hurricane passing by an island

The passage of Hurricane Iota through the islands of San Andrés and Providencia in Colombia, leaves open the question of how other governments have handled natural disasters of this type. / Photo: Pixabay

LatinAmerican Post | Ariel Cipolla

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Leer en español: ¿Cómo han manejado otros países del Caribe los desastres naturales?

In addition to the health issue, governments must take care of other things. Among them, the economy, security and even natural disasters. According to CNN, the Colombian islands of San Andrés and Providencia received, for the first time in history, the effects of a Category 5 hurricane.

At the same time, as revealed by the DW website, the eye of the powerful hurricane fully impacted this small Colombian territory. This hurricane, known as Iota, would have caused 98% damage to the island's infrastructure, in addition to causing at least one person to die there.

According to Colombian President Iván Duque, San Andrés y Providencia would be rebuilt in 100 days. In other words, it is expected that by March 2021 the area can recover from the natural effects of the archipelago, thanks to a government plan. Against this background, we decided to find out other cases in which Latin American countries have had to deal with this type of natural catastrophe.

Earthquake in Chile (2010)

From Diario UChile they mentioned that on February 27, 2010, the Chilean inhabitants were surprised by one of the strongest earthquakes in the history of the planet. The 8.8 Mw earthquake hit the south central area of the country, leaving at least 156 Chileans dead, in addition to many others missing.

Against this background, the website of the Government of Chile, through its Ministry of Planning, had launched the production and timely delivery of some 40,000 emergency homes, thermal insulation and electrical kits. Thanks to the Emergency Committee, they carried out a Social Protection System in which the damage in the area was diagnosed and State resources were transferred, including subsidy-format bonds for those affected.

Haiti earthquake (2010)

The Caribbean country suffered a devastating earthquake in 2010. According to the BBC, on January 12 an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 Mw was recorded at a depth of 10 km, resulting in the death of 316,000 people, 350,000 injured and more than 1.5 million homeless, according to government figures.

The fact that this earthquake devastated the poorest country in America led to many complications on a political scale. However, the El País Anniversary website mentioned that, although there is talk of an "infinite reconstruction", international aid was mobilized to generate resources and evaluate progress.

Basically, Haiti still continues to live on international aid and cooperation, as is the case with Caritas. By calling an immediate emergency, the funds were used to rebuild schools and homes, provide food rations and attend to the most urgent matters of citizens.

Also read: The Atlantic Ocean is at its hottest

Earthquake in Ecuador (2016)

The Ecuadorian earthquake occurred on April 16, 2016, being a seismic movement with a magnitude of 7.8 Mw . From El Mundo they indicated that this natural disaster left "hundreds of deaths" in the north of the coastal region of the country, in addition to several injuries and destroyed places.

From El Comercio they indicate that, even years after the earthquake, the reconstruction "continues in Manabí", the province that houses the place of the epicenter, which was Pedernales. Since the earthquake, 24 million dollars have been allocated to rebuild a drinking water system, in addition to emergency aid policies from the Ministry of Social Development.

Therefore, we have seen that these are not isolated events, but that historically the Caribbean and Latin American countries have suffered natural catastrophes. The key would seem to be, then, in the allocation of government funds so that the reconstruction of the sectors is done as soon as possible.