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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 05:22 PM
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Shantytown Stands as City Crumbles


By DIONNE SEARCEY And KEVIN NOBLET

e.

CITE SOLEIL, HaitiFor once, it paid off to be the poorest among Haiti's poor.

While countless bigger, multi-story homes, churches and offices on the hillsides of Port-au-Prince fell in the earthquake, crushing tens of thousands of people beneath their heavy concrete, the flimsy tin-roofed shanties of the slums fared much better.

In Cite Soleil, the biggest, poorest seafront slum, there was significant destruction to two large churches, but not to people's homes. Most shacks stood upright. There was no smell of rotting corpses.

Here, life went on Saturday with some semblance of normality. Mule carts carried charcoal and icea precious commodity nowand street side stands for candies, crackers and electronics plied their wares.

"It was a blessing," said Frederic Jean Junior, a 23-year-old DJ for Radio Boukman, a station that operates out of Cite Soleil. He spoke among a crowd of young men who echoed his sentiment, some of them shouting "Amen."

Not that slum residents haven't felt the city's paralysis. Electricity remains cut off and, unlike Haitians of means, the poorest cannot turn on gasoline generators to get a couple of hours of power.

A shanty here and there did collapse and, according to one local political organizer, Reginald Jean Francois, bodies of victims had been buried in the open lots on the slum's fringes. But a large concrete cistern was in tact.

"It doesn't seem like we have a lot of chaos like downtown," he said as aid helicopters passed overhead. "We're supposed to be the worst people but we're helping each other out."


<snip>

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703959804...
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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 05:30 PM
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1. hmmmm
In most any widespread collapse it does seem those who live closest to the earth do survive the best.

They have easily repaired shelters, a cistern and normal commerce (for them) exists somewhat.

Sounds like the middle class was hit hardest, in relative terms?
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 07:00 PM
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8. The ruling class, upper and lower middle class
particularly the petit bourgeoisie and the urban working class took the hit.
Lots of foreign companies, the UN and embassies also took a hit as did three of the better hotels. The sooner we build to suit our environment the better.
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Hekate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 05:38 PM
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2. Either they were in just the right spot relative to the fault lines, or the shacks swayed...
... because of their building materials. Unreinforced masonry like brick and concrete block will fall in a heap while wooden frames have a certain tolerance and will sway.

They were fortunate either way.

Hekate

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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 05:40 PM
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3. That's why the Japanese traditionally bult structures to be light and flexible.
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Hekate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 05:57 PM
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4. I thought of Japan and almost put that in, so I'm glad you did it for me.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 06:34 PM
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6. You're welcome!
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 06:06 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. An old hobby of mine was investigating Japanese Joinery! Traditional houses used joins
and not nails.

Oh, and tiled roofs. Tiles would slide off during an earthquake.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 06:50 PM
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7. The Pomo and Chumash Indians of California lived in graceful-looking round huts
made of willow and oak frames, which were thatched. They look like inverted bowls or baskets. Pomo women wove the most exquisitely beautiful baskets ever created. For gifts, they wove tiny, tiny baskets, no bigger than your pinkie fingernail (even smaller). To see detail, you need to look at them with a magnifying glass.

I've often thought of the Pomo and Chumash when we've had earthquakes in California. They rode them out in simple round homes of natural materials. The worst danger for them would be proximity to a cliff or a big tree in the wrong spot--something like that. In their normal living spaces and migrations, they could just sit around and enjoy the rumble. We place skyscrapers and bridges and freeways and vast housing projects on top of earthquake zones and live in terror of a tremor. What strange people we are, so clever in some ways, so foolish in others.

http://www.greatdreams.com/native/nativehsg.htm
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