My first thought, as is often the case, when reading about devastations such as the hurricane Dorian caused on the Bahamas: “could this have been avoided?” Not the storm as such, but the scale of it is brutal impact?
No doubt, this was one of the worst storms ever to hit the Bahamas, with a possible link to Climate Change.
Yet, I was not able to find any international news story on the fact that even this storm did not affect the whole population in equal measures.
What is rather unusual, is, that the Bahamas looks good on paper. It is a highly developed country with less corruption and more freedom of speech than most countries in the Americas.
However, the country has a high level of social inequality. Another fact is that the Bahamas has received a large number of immigrants from Haiti. Both legal and illegal.
Hence, I was pleased when a week later, I found this article in the British newspaper the Guardian: “The poor are punished: Dorian lays bare inequality in the Bahamas.”
Finally, something on vulnerability and risk drivers.
We’ve brought this on ourselves,” was one opinion conveyed anonymously to the Guardian. “It’s all fine when you’re living in paradise and a Haitian comes and mows your lawn. We’ve just created our own structure and there hasn’t been any attempt to integrate.
If only such self-insight had been prevalent around the world.
Could it also be that international media finally has started to grasp that disasters are shaped by vulnerability? That a storm is a trigger, but not a determinator? Could this be the beginning of the end to “natural disaster” headlines?
That would be very good news. Because that implies that journalists would start to ask some more critical questions to national and international power brokers on how their decisions, or indifference, caused the havoc in the first place.