Mechanism That Cancelled Haitian Debt Post-Earthquake Could Help Ebola-Affected West Africa
by Sophia Har
January 12 marks the five-year anniversary of Haiti's 2010 earthquake. The 7.0 quake killed an estimated 230,000 people, injured 300,000 more and displaced 1.5 million Haitians. The earthquake also took an enormous toll on Haiti's economy. The year before the disaster, Haiti's economy grew 3.5 percent - the year after the quake, its growth was negative 5 percent. Even before the earthquake, Haiti was the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
"Too many people died during the earthquake because they lived in unsafe conditions," said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA. "This anniversary reminds us that poverty makes natural disasters even more deadly."
In the quake's aftermath, Jubilee USA called on the international community to cancel Haiti's debt. At the time, Haiti owed nearly $1 billion in external debt.