Devastating Haiti 2010 Earthquake

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Haiti 2010 earthquake was a devastating earthquake of magnitude 7. It hits near the densely populated area Port au Prince the capital of Haiti, the western half of the island of Hispaniola and other areas. It happened at 4:53 p.m. local time on Tuesday, 12 January 2010. It was as one of the most upsetting earthquakes globally. As per Encyclopedia Britannica (2016), the Haitian government counted approximately 300,000 were impacted, from them 100,000 died. Hundreds of thousands of survivors were displaced, building, and infrastructure damaged and over 1.3 million people became homeless. The earthquake was such a damaging event that Haiti count its loss by the number of people killed (Cavallo et al., 2010).

Haiti is the developing country in the Western Hemisphere, ranking 145 out of 169 on the UN Human Development Index (UNDP 2010). This disaster traumatized them more from socio-economic, health and psychologically vulnerable. Within 20 minutes gap, there had two aftershocks with a magnitude of 6.0 and 5.7 accordingly. This aftershock was three times more productive than a typical aftershock sequence in California. There had more than 50 aftershocks happened the next two weeks with different magnitudes. The earthquake produced due to pressure and tension across the boundary of Caribbean Plate. The North American Plate had released all in a sudden is another scientific reason.

The impact on Haiti life was mostly for their unpreparedness and their unplanned infrastructure. Haiti was not ready at all to face that challenge. The performance of the building was not up to the mark, was not earthquake resistance. The bridges and transportation were not that much modernized. The water supply was not enough, and the communication was too little as it was a developing country. So, after this shock, their situation became more vulnerable. The socio-economic impact was high where the struggled to recover the challenge. Researchers distinguish between emergencies, disasters, and catastrophes (Comerio, 1998), and from that aspect Haiti earthquake classified as a major catastrophe. The disaster made the Government broken. People losses their job, human traffic, student profoundly impacted.

Nevertheless, financial strength is the most critical part of a country to mitigate any disaster. Overall losses and damages from the earthquake are estimated between US$7 billion and US$14 billion (Cavallo et al., 2010). One of the significant impacts I think is to mitigate and recovery the health challenges. People impacted by Cholera and HIV which was another vulnerable situation. There had more diseases like the fever of unknown cause, malaria, tuberculosis, pregnancy complications. There had another issue was female's safety. Many females became pregnant and impacted by human trafficking. In this occasion, many UN staff losted as the had headquarter in Haiti, which is an international impact as well. Many different NGO, international donors, all raised their helping hands, donations, training, and health treatment. It was tough to come out regular life after facing such disaster. Human need money needs standard socio-economic strength. Awareness in every stakeholder is another key to responding to the disaster.

Disaster management is an immense task which is not country-specific so that learning can get from any disaster. Here, learning from a big disaster like Haiti Earthquake, as an emergency stakeholder wanted to find out some gap and the mitigation factors. What made them more vulnerable to the disaster? What can be the take away for future preparedness for any country? What is Haiti's current preparedness?


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Devastating Haiti 2010 Earthquake. (2019, Nov 27). Retrieved June 20, 2024 , from

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