Poor Building Practices, Infrastructure Worsened Haiti Devastation

CNN reports that a lack of building codes and the construction of vulnerable informal settlements may have contributed to the high death toll in Haiti's earthquake.

CNN quotes Haiti's ambassador Raymond Alcide Joseph as saying that Haiti was a "catastrophe waiting to happen" because of the poor state of the country's infrastructure. The article continues:

"'Among the numerous factors explaining the extent of the loss of lives and goods are the absence of land use zoning and building guidelines, and comprehensive enforcement mechanisms.' Haiti has no national building codes. Port-au-Prince was particularly at risk because it grew rapidly from a population of about 250,000 in the mid-1950s to more than 2 million today, all with little oversight. City planners had [unsuccessfully] called for the surrounding hills to remain undeveloped in order to protect an aquifer....[and] Instead of building concrete structures, they built shanties."

Full Story: Haiti was 'catastrophe waiting to happen'

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Buildings without rebar, Democracy Now coverage

Visit www.democracynow.org for coverage on Haiti. They have five segments on it today alone.

In this segment, there is some discussion about concrete buildings constructed without rebar as an example.
http://www.democracynow.org/2010/1/13/haiti_devastated_by_largest_earthq...

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