/>
X
Home & Office

Can high tech save a country that has just been destroyed?

Too often in history, mankind has found it easier to destroy than build. Perhaps this is a chance to turn the table on our resume, and hi-tech may be a solid contributor to Haiti's recovery.
Written by Doug Hanchard, Contributor on

Update: January 26th: Press Conference - Montreal Haiti Summit - Secretary of State Clinton & Prime Minister Harper.

On Tuesday January 11 12th, during a sunny and warm afternoon, a 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti. Their capital literately lies in ruins, almost complete destruction. The Governor General of Canada who was born in Haiti, Michaelle Jean, said it best: "It's as if an atomic bomb has fallen over Port-au-Prince".

This is a nation which is recognized as the poorest in the western hemisphere, has been caught in a constant cycle of civil unrest, hurricanes and now an earthquake that has wiped out what little infrastructure it had in the capital. Areas just outside the capital of Port-au-Prince are also heavily damaged, landslides destroying many homes and schools.

Telecommunications are chaotic and often sporadic in operation.  Clean water is running low and systems capable of purifying water are beyond capacities required.  Haiti's electrical system will require major rebuilding on the ground and to reconnection to every structure in Port-au-Prince. Reconstruction is going to take years.  Is this an opportunity to rebuild a nation, investing in capabilities and infrastructure that it never had before, offering it a chance to be a Caribbean nation of wealth and economic growth? Too often in history, mankind has found it easier to destroy than build. Perhaps this is a chance to turn the table on our resume, and hi-tech may be a solid contributor to its recovery.

Some examples:

  • Wind Turbines and Solar Power systems creating a new foundation for electricity distribution.
  • Membrane-based water purification systems which can be community built.
  • Wireless Internet Access deployed on Wind Turbine Towers in conjunction with VOIP
  • Computer and Smart Device Manufacturing designed and engineered in buildings designed for Hurricanes and earthquakes. (Haiti doesn't have updated building codes)

Between clean up and reconstruction, the amount of jobs that would be created would surely help rebuild the nation and perhaps be a better competitor to offer trade agreements with. Haiti is certainly closer than China or other far eastern nations.  As the reconstruction winds down, the people gaining new skills would then begin to work in clean energy, high tech manufacturing and communications services.

There are those that will argue that all that would be built is one more sweat shop and access to cheap labour. What Haiti has had for the last 20 years certainly hasn't been a solution either. Perhaps it's time for a high tech approach rather than a political one.

Question is, would it work...?

[poll id="36"]

Editorial standards

Related

How much RAM does your Windows 11 PC need?
adobestock-339222220

How much RAM does your Windows 11 PC need?

What is ChatGPT and why does it matter? Here's what you need to know
chat bot

What is ChatGPT and why does it matter? Here's what you need to know

Low-code is not a cure for overworked IT departments just yet
a-woman-looking-stressed-out-in-front-of-a-laptop-in-an-office-meeting-room

Low-code is not a cure for overworked IT departments just yet