Do natural disasters discriminate by social class and ethnic background?
Judging by the tragedy still unfolding in the demolished shantytown of Mudd, on Abaco island in the Bahamas, the answer is a resounding “Yes.”
Residents who remain after Hurricane Dorian speak of at least 1,000 dead, many of these Haitians immigrants, who have long suffered from systemic discrimination in their adoptive homeland.
According to a NBC News report, a volunteer rescue mission surveying the wreckage by helicopter found several dozen survivors of the hurricane hiding in the wreckage, many of them undocumented Haitians who were “afraid of being deported.”
This despite the fact that Haitians — legal as well as undocumented — are, or were, the backbone of the tourist economy on this island “paradise.”
Yet the majority of Haitian immigrants in the Bahamas are the poorest of the poor — living hand to mouth, their wages barely enough to sustain them in sub-standard housing conditions.
Those flimsy shacks were shattered by Dorian’s fury. Those who survived face an even more precarious future.
Source: The Guardian (U.K.), NBC News