What Coronavirus Has Taught Us About Inequality
Pandemics do not materialise in isolation. They are part and parcel of capitalism and colonisation.
After Haiti‘s January 2010 earthquake, which killed more than 250,000 people and left over one million homeless, I moved to Port-au-Prince to help with relief efforts. As a recent graduate of a public health master’s degree programme, and a person of Haitian descent, I thought my expertise and linguistic skills could be of use to the survivors.
The situation was already grave when I arrived there. Amid endemic poverty, political instability and almost no remaining infrastructure, the people of Haiti were struggling to rebuild their lives. But it got significantly worse a few months later, when a silent killer emerged on the scene: cholera.
The cholera epidemic, which broke out near a base housing United Nations peacekeepers, killed over 10,000 people and affected more than 800,000 others. It also contributed to the contamination of the island’s main water source, the Artibonite River, further crippling relief efforts.