Tectonic Hazards Case Study 1: Haiti, January 10, 2010
Case study of the management of an earthquake in a developing country
A. Where did the earthquake happen and why?
- Caribbean Sea
- Dominican Republic
- Puerto Rico
- Caribbean Plate
- North American Plate
- Destructive boundaries (subduction zone)
- Conservative boundaries (strike-slip fault)
B. Why was Haiti vulnerable?
- GDP per capita
- Literacy rate
- Hospital bed density (explain what this means)
- Adult literacy rate
- Unemployment rate
- % of population with access to the internet
C. Effects of the Earthquake
Photos of the damage
D. How was the earthquake managed?
We can divide the stages of earthquake management into the 3 Ps for before an event and the 3 Rs after it.
Planning - government and NGOs ensuring that detailed plans are in place in the event of a natural disaster. this might include evacuation plans, action plans for emergency services, stores of shelters, food, clean water.
Preparation - this is about readiness. It might include education of the people who live in an area including the use of the media, poster campaigns, school programmes, emergency drills. It might also include land use zoning to avoid building on unstable ground, building regulations to ensure that homes and public buildings can withstand a hazard event.
Prediction - this is about giving warning of an event. Although we cannot predict the exact time and location of an earthquake we can study patterns of where they have occurred.
Rescue (short term) - this is about acting immediately after the earthquake to ensure that survivors have medical care, food, shelter. It includes search and rescue, emergency services and organisations providing food, water and shelter immediately after the event.
Rehabilitation (Medium term) - this includes supporting people in ensuring that in the weeks/months after an event that they have shelter, food, water, sanitation, access to health care. It will also include the cleanup and repairs of damaged buildings, rubble, material left by landslides. It is about supporting people to recover and get on with their lives where possible. It might also include emotional support.
Reconstruction (Long term) - this is about rebuilding of homes, roads, water supply, sanitation and other infrastructure.
E. Why was the Haiti earthquake so damaging?
Haiti is a small island located in the Caribbean, South East of the USA and East of Cuba. Its capital city is Port-au-Prince.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia
The earthquake was caused by the North American Plate sliding past the Caribbean Plate at a conservative plate margin. Both plates move in the same direction, but one moves faster than the other. The pressure that was built up because of the friction between the 2 plates was eventually released causing a magnitude 7 earthquake on the Richter Scale with an epicentre 16 miles West of Port-au-Prince and a shallow focus of 5 miles. The earthquake struck at 16:53 (4:53pm) local time on Tuesday 12 January 2010.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Primary (caused directly by the earthquake)
Secondary (result from primary effects)
|316,000 people were killed and 1 million people were made homeless. 3 million people were affected by the earthquake||1 in 5 people lost their jobs because so many buildings were destroyed. Haiti’s largest industry, clothing was one of the worst affected|
|250,000 homes and 30,000 other buildings, including the President’s Palace and 60% of government buildings, were either destroyed or badly damaged||The large number of deaths meant that hospitals and morgues became full and bodies then had to be piled up on the streets|
|Transport and communication links were also badly damaged by the earthquake||The large number of bodies meant that diseases, especially cholera, became a serious problem|
|Hospitals (50+) and schools (1,300+) were badly damaged, as was the airport’s control tower||It was difficult getting aid into the area because of issues at the airport and generally poor management of the situation|
|The main prison was destroyed and 4,000 inmates escaped||People were squashed into shanty towns or onto the streets because their homes had been destroyed leading to poor sanitation and health, and looting became a real problem|
|GDP per capita (average income)||$1,200 per person each year|
|People living in poverty||80% of people live on $2 or less per day|
|Life expectancy||62 years old|
|People per doctor||0.25 doctors per 1,000 people|
|Adult literacy rate||53% over 15 years old can read/write|
|Access to clean water||46% of people have access to clean water|
Image courtesy of Wikipedia
|$100 million in aid given by the USA and $330 million by the European Union||98% of the rubble on the roads hadn’t been cleared restricting aid access|
|810,000 people placed in aid camps||1 million people still without houses after 1 year so still have to live in aid camps|
|115,000 tents and 1,000,000+ tarpaulin shelters provided||Support for people without jobs, which equates to nearly 70% of the population, through cash/food-for-work projects|
|Healthcare supplies provided to limit disease||Temporary schools created and new teachers trainee|
|Lack of immediate aid through poor planning, management and access meant that people had to try and rescue each other||Water and sanitation eventually supplied for 1.7 million people|
|4.3 million people provided with food rations in the weeks following the earthquake|
Primary and secondary effects of the Haiti earthquake