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Haiti Case study

Haiti Earthquake, Caribbean (LIC)

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, its GDP is only $1,200 per person, and its HDI is incredibly low at 0.404, 145th in the world and 80 % of its 9.7 Million people live below the poverty line.

Port Au Prince, the capital, is on a fault line running off the Puerto Rico Trench, where the North American Plate is sliding under the Caribbean plate.  There were many aftershocks after the main event. The earthquake occurred on January 12th 2010, the epicentre was centred just 10 miles southwest of the capital city, Port au Prince and the quake was shallow—only about 10-15 kilometres below the land's surface.  The event measured 7.0 on the Richter Magnitude scale.


There were many impacts including;
•316,000 people died and more than a million people were made homeless, even in 2011 people remained in make shift temporary homes.  Large parts of this impoverished nation were damaged, most importantly the capital Port Au Prince, where shanty towns and even the presidential palace crumbled to dust. 3 million people in total were affected. Few of the Buildings in Haiti were built with earthquakes in mind, contributing to their collapse
•The government of Haiti also estimated that 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings had collapsed or were severely damaged.  The port, other major roads and communication links were damaged beyond repair and needed replacing.  The clothing industry, which accounts for two-thirds of Haiti's exports, reported structural damage at manufacturing facilities.  It is estimated the 1 in 5 jobs were lost as a result of the quake
•Rubble from collapsed buildings blocked roads and rail links.
• The port was destroyed
• Sea levels in local areas changed, with some parts of the land sinking below the sea
• The roads were littered with cracks and fault lines

Haiti Building Collapse

By Photo Marco Dormino/ The United Nations United Nations Development Programme 

Short term responses
Many countries responded to appeals for aid, pledging funds and dispatching rescue and medical teams, engineers and support personnel.
Communication systems, air, land, and sea transport facilities, hospitals, and electrical networks had been damaged by the earthquake, which slowed rescue and aid efforts.
There was much confusion over who was in charge, air traffic congestion, and problems with prioritisation of flights further complicated early relief work.
Port-au-Prince's morgues were quickly overwhelmed with many tens of thousands of bodies having to be buried in mass graves.
As rescues tailed off, supplies, medical care and sanitation became priorities.
Delays in aid distribution led to angry appeals from aid workers and survivors, and looting and sporadic violence were observed.
Medicines San Frontiers, a charity, tried to help casualties whilst the USA took charge of trying to coordinate Aid distribution

Damage during Haiti Earthquake

Long term recovery:
• The EU gave $330 million and the World Bank waived the countries debt repayments for 5 years.
• The Senegalese offered land in Senegal to any Haitians who wanted it!
• 6 months after the quake, 98% of the rubble remained uncleared, some still blocking vital access roads.
• The number of people in relief camps of tents and tarps since the quake was 1.6 million, and almost no transitional housing had been built.  Most of the camps had no electricity, running water, or sewage disposal, and the tents were beginning to fall apart.
• Between 23 major charities, $1.1 billion had been collected for Haiti for relief efforts, but only two percent of the money had been released
• One year after the earthquake 1 million people remained displaced
• The Dominican Republic which neighbours Haiti offered support and accepted some refugees.

Haiti Aid

By Daniel Barker, U.S. Navy





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