This week's edition of The Economist magazine includes an article about Haiti entitled "Island in the sun", which begins by saying that:
It might seem callous in the aftermath of 230,000 deaths in January’s earthquake to talk about the opportunity offered by the rebuilding of Haiti. But merely restoring the most benighted country in the Americas to its previous misery would be culpable. Among the opportunities is to improve Haiti’s energy infrastructure.
Even the online version of the Economist's statistics on global economic activity don't include Haiti, so we need to look somewhere else to try and find out what they mean by the term "benighted country". The Thompson Reuters Foundation AlertNet site gives us an idea of how "benighted" Haiti actually is. It uses Gross National Income per capita as a measure of standard of living, and this is what it reveals. The standard of living in Haiti is so low you can barely make it out on the chart. For 2006, the most recent year for which full statistics are available, the numbers are as follows:
In February 2005 I went on a surfing trip to the Caribbean. Since I speak English rather than French I went to Barbados rather than Haiti, and made a pilgrimage to Bathsheba on the east coast. According to Kelly Slater, the "Tiger Woods" of surfing, and 9 times world champion:
Today we've added two new sections to our website. The first contains our current suggestions about how best to help get relief to the victimsof the earthquake in Haiti. According to Haitian President René Préval the most urgent need is shelter for 800,000 homeless people before the rainy season starts in about a month's time, so we focus on that problem to start with.
Synchronicity struck at the opening of the Art, Ecology and the Economy exhibition at CCANW. Several musicians from South West England have now donated a track to our forthcoming "Water Connects Us" album in aid of Haiti: