Poverty in Chile Essay

English 10 IB – 6th hour February 9,2011 Effects of the Earthquake in Chile Natural disasters occur all over the world every year, devastating millions of people. On February 27, 2010, tragedy struck millions of lives throughout Chile. An earthquake lasting nearly three minutes with a magnitude of 8. 8 destroyed an estimated 500,000 homes, schools, hospitals, and other buildings, leaving countless Chileans homeless (Kurczy). This earthquake was 500 times stronger than the earthquake that occurred in Haiti, and caused severe damage in central Chile (Kurczy).

It’s the second strongest earthquake to ever hit Chile and one of the top ten strongest in the world (“Chile’s Earthquake”). The 2010 earthquake in Chile left millions of Chileans in poverty which led to an increase in malnutrition; however, even with a more powerful earthquake, Chile still remains in better condition than Haiti. Chile is home to about 16 million people (Kurczy). Near the end of 2009, it was estimated that there were 2. 7 million Chileans living in poverty (“More Chileans”). After the earthquake struck, it pushed half a million more people below the poverty line (Locker).

So in 2010 there were about 3. 2 million Chileans living in poverty due to the earthquake (Locker). The main reason for this poverty was all the buildings that were destroyed caused many people to lose their jobs, especially in the central and southern parts of Chile (“More Chileans”). “It is estimated that 17. 3 percent of the population in the most affected regions lost their homes in the disaster, and the number of people unemployed rose from 620,000 in 2009 to 700,000” after the earthquake (“Quake”). Over 40% of the Chile’s wealth is located in 10% of the populations hands (“Chile – Statistics”).

This just shows how inequitable the income distribution is in Chile. Due to all of this poverty in Chile, not many families can afford to eat everyday which then leads to malnutrition. Malnutrition, a preventable and treatable condition, is a consequence of poverty. Without money, people can’t afford food, and without food people cannot feed their families and children become malnourished. In the first two years of life, it is critical that children have access to a diet consisting of high-quality protein, essential fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, in order to avoid impaired growth and development (“Use the”). Chile does not produce enough food for all its people,” partly because only about 3% of its land can be cultivated (Monteon 466). Also due to their old fashioned farming methods, Chile’s agricultural output is limited (Monteon 466). Malnutrition may cause children to be more susceptible to diseases which would lead to more deaths. In Chile, as of 2009, 5% of children under the age of five are undernourished and not getting the proper nutrients needed to grow and develop properly (“Prevalence”). This is a substantial decrease since 1992 when 7% of children under the age of five were malnourished (“Prevalence).

Chile is heading in the right direction of trying to prevent diseases in their country because 95% of Chile is using improved drinking water sources and 94% is using improved sanitation facilities (“Chile – Statistics”). Both Chile and Haiti were struck by earthquakes in 2010; however, the aftermaths of the two are completely different. The earthquake that hit Chile was the most costly natural disaster of 2010 at 30 billion dollars (“Quake”). The earthquake that hit Haiti was the worst natural disaster killing about 222,500 people whereas only about 795 people died in Chile (“More Chileans).

Despite the fact that Chile’s earthquake was 500 times more powerful than the earthquake in Haiti. This is simply because Chile was better prepared for earthquakes. In recent years, Chile has mandated earthquake-proofing for any of their new structures (Padgett). They require the structures have rubber and counter weights be built in them which allows the building to bend a sway rather than collapse (Padgett). Haiti on the other hand, built their structures without any input from engineers and they often built on weak foundations which makes the building collapse with ease during earthquakes (Padgett).

Since Chile was better prepared, fewer buildings collapsed meaning fewer deaths and far fewer people that rendered homeless in Chile than in Haiti after the earthquake (Padgett). Chile is still one of the wealthiest countries in South America despite that devastating earthquake that hit them in 2010. Though that earthquake did increase the percentage of poverty which led to an increase in malnutrition, Chile still remains in better condition than a lot of countries in the world. Chile is continuing to take steps in the right direction to recover from this earthquake and reduce their percentage of poverty and malnutrition.

Works Cited “Chile. ” Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations:Americas. 2007 ed. “Chile- Statistics. ” Unicef. 2 Mar. 2010 31 Jan. 2011.. “Chile’s Earthquake: Six Months on. ” Unicef. 31 Aug. 2010 31 Jan. 2011.. Kurczy,Stephan, Leigh Montgomery, Elizabeth Ryan. “Chile Earthquake Facts:Chile vs. `Haiti in Numbers. ” The Christian Science Moniter. 2 Mar. 2010 7 Feb. 2011.