People in Florida were better prepared for hurricanes than Haiti. The main factors influencing this was good media coverage, accurate weather forecasting, better housing structure and defences against damage, better education and therefore, greater understanding.
Despite all of these advantages over Haiti a survey carried out in 800 Floridians showed that only 53% had taken steps to protect their homes from damage and 25% acknowledged that they did not perceive hurricanes as a big risk. This relaxed attitude may be influenced by their wealth and therefore their ability to fix the damage probably because they had their property and belongings insured and also because of the many people suffering from hurricane Fatigue.
Compare this to Haiti, a poor country where most people live on the bread line i.e. they live from day to day providing enough money to feed and clothe their family. Also not everyone in Haiti could afford a radio or television, therefore were unlikely to know about the Hurricane until it had actually hit them. They could not afford to insure their houses and with little building regulations the foundations would be much more likely to crumble with a hurricane storm. Also, as Haiti is a small mainly flat island the inhabitants were unable to escape to higher land or go inland to ride out the storm.
In Florida, people were tired of false alarms and unnecessary Hurricane warnings, many people decided to stay put when they heard Jeanne was approaching, whereas in Haiti, many people didn’t even hear about the Hurricane until it was in clear view.
The impact of the Hurricane in Florida cost 7 billion US dollars worth of damage but with only 3 direct deaths, whereas Haiti lost everything of value including 3006+ lives. In relative terms 7 billion is a small amount of money. Florida had the money to invest into their state therefore could save lives and from the lessons learned this time they will plan for future hurricanes by increasing the public shelters, improving roads for evacuation, looking at planning laws. By putting theses structures into place they could claim this back by raising the amount of income tax that each resident paid. If you compare this to Haiti where wages are very low, the government do not have the money to invest in education and without education the wages will remain low unless some companies from other richer countries invest money in the people to educate and therefore increase salary and so on. This is well demonstrated by two quotes given by a resident in Florida and one in Haiti
The resident response from Florida was “This time we’ve got tons and tons of candles and batteries. I’ve got hurricane lamps and I’m getting a generator and a chainsaw” – Mr Wentrel, Retiree to Florida from North U.S.A. This quote tells us that the people of Florida have learnt from their mistakes and are reducing the risk of greater damage for the next hurricane. Compare this to a quote made a resident of Haiti, Jaqueline Orassin; “We don’t know if the water is good… but if we don’t cook anything, my children are going to die.” This statement shows how helpless and hopeless this mother feels and is a reflection on how well the two different places are coping with the disaster. The residents of Haiti did not have the education to have higher paid jobs and be financially able to purchase the ‘candles and the batteries’ that Mr Wentrel in Florida could afford.
In my opinion, Hurricane Jeanne had the worst impact in Haiti because many lives were lost and it can easily happen again because the people of Haiti were not given enough help; the people of Florida were given the help in advance for example numerous evacuation shelters were set up but they chose stay where they were therefore put themselves at risk.