Haiti’s earthquake 2010

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  1. 1. Chris Cartwright A2 Geography Student
  2. 2.
    • The devastating earthquake of January 2010 provides an up-to-date case study illustrating how susceptible low-income countries are to natural hazards
    • It is relevant to all GCSE courses and may also be relevant to AS/A2 level courses (e.g. Edexcel Unit 1 Global Challenges)
  3. 3.
    • On 12 thJanuary 2010 a huge earthquake, registering a magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter Scale, struck the Caribbean island nation of Haiti
    • Haiti has a history of destructive earthquakes but this was the worst in 200 years
    • TheEpicentrewas near Leogane, 25km West of Haitis capital, Port-Au-Prince
  4. 5.
    • By 24 thJanuary at least 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 + on the Richter Scale had been recorded
    • The US Geological Survey estimates that 3.5 million people lived in the area where moderate to heavy damage occurred
    • The Haitian government estimates that 230,000 people died, about 300,000 people were injured and 1 million were made homeless out of a population of 10 million
    • Some 250,000 dwellings were destroyed or badly damaged
  5. 6.
    • For any country this would have been a major disaster
    • However, as a very poor nation Haiti was particularly badly placed to cope with such an event
    • According to the World Bank (2008), Haitis GDP per person is only US$660
    • This makes Haiti the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere
    • It is ranked 149 thout of 182 countries on theHDI( Human Development Index )
  6. 7.
    • Haiti lies close to the boundary of two tectonic plates
      • The Caribbean plate is shifting by about 20mm a year relative to the North American plate
  7. 8.
    • The focus of the January Earthquake was about 13km below the Earths surface on the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault
    • This fault had been locked for 250 years, gathering stress, so that when this earthquake happened, the rupture in the fault was 65km long, with a slippage of 1.8 metres
    • Seismologists had already warned that major seismic activity in the area was likely and the 2010 earthquake could be the beginning of a sequence of earthquakes
  8. 9.
    • Theprimary hazardof the earthquake, the shaking ground, causedsecondary hazardssuch as collapsing buildings, and food and water shortages due to the damage and disruption
    • Vital infrastructure needed for a response to the disaster was destroyed
  9. 10.
    • Electricity supplies were disrupted
    • Roads were blocked (the main road between Port-au-Prince and Jacmel was still blocked 10 days after the earthquake)
    • The international airport was unusable due to control-tower damage, as was Port-au-Prince harbour
    • The public telephone system was knocked out, with no signal for mobile phones and no internet
  10. 11.
    • Medical facilities were badly affected, with some hospitals destroyed
    • Key buildings were flattened, including the National Assembly, Supreme Court, City Hall, main cathedral, universities, schools and the World Bank offices
    • The main prison was wrecked and 4000 inmates escaped
  11. 12.
    • People took sleeping to the streets, on pavements or in cars because their homes had been flattened, or they feared remaining buildings would collapse due to aftershocks
    • Because of the lack of building regulations buildings are put up wherever they will fit in, without proper foundations
    • About 2 million Haitians live as squatters on land they do not own
  12. 13.
    • Even before the earthquake Haiti suffered from shortages of fuel and drinking water
    • After the quake there was major confusion, even though President Rene Preval and his ministers met with UN planners every day
    • A few days after the earthquake the government handed control of the airport to US authorities to try to speed up aid effort, but some aircraft with potentially life-saving supplies still had to be turned away.
  13. 14.
    • As organisation improved, landings at the airport rose from 35 to 100 a day.
    • By 16 thJanuary, US helicopters were beginning to distribute aid to hard-to-reach places
    • Delays in aid distribution led to looting and occasional violence
    • British search and rescue teams were the first to reach Leogane, on 17 thJanuary, but this was already 5 days after the earthquake
  14. 15.
    • In the heat and humidity, decomposing corpsesin the rubble began to smell
    • One rescue worker said: The situation is true madness. There are more and more bodies, in numbers that cannot be grasped
    • The morgue in Port-au-Prince was overwhelmed mass graves were dug north of the capital and tens of thousands of bodies were brought there by dumper trucks
  15. 17.
    • On 22 ndJanuary the UN said the emergency phase of the relief operation was over
    • Next day the Haitian government called off the search for survivors
    • Nevertheless, the last survivor, 28 year old Evan Muncie, was found in the rubble of a shop almost a month after the quake, on 8 thFebruary
  16. 18.
    • Survivors crammed into make shift camps like this one, which faced further threats such as disease outbreaks
  17. 19.
    • Much of the early rescue work was done by Haitians and by teams from the Dominican Republic, the first country to respond
    • Within 24 hours a medical team from Iceland had landed
    • A 50 strong Chinese team followed
    • Qatar and Israel sent teams to set up field hospitals
  18. 20.
    • The American Red Cross let people donate via text message and set a record by raising US$7m in 24 hours
    • Many countries, including the UK, offered financial aid
  19. 22.
    • Two months after the quake, in March, the rainy season began
    • At this point, 500,000 survivors were sleeping rough and 500,000 more were crowded into make-shift camps
    • It was feared the rain would turn the camps into quagmires and trigger further secondary hazards such as mudslides and disease outbreaks
  20. 23.
    • Aid agencies warned that if shelter and sanitation arrangements were not made quickly, a further humanitarian disaster would occur
    • The UN increased its relief appeal to US$1.44bn
  21. 24.
    • The UNs top official in Haiti, Edmond Mulet, explained: We need toilets, field tents, and plastic sheets so that people can cover themselves. I dont think we are going to be able to shelter all these people in time
    • The UN aimed to distribute durable plastic tarpaulins to 1,500 families a day, with the hope that by early May each family would have two tarpaulins
  22. 25.
    • The impacts on Haitis economy is massive
    • Even before the disaster Port-au-Prince could not sustain its population, partly because so many people had moved there from the countryside to find work
    • As in most LEDCs, rural-urban migration has been significant in recent years
  23. 26.
    • Now, 1 job in 5 has been lost due to the earthquake, and many people have been returning to the small rural settlements they came from
    • US Vice-President Joe Biden said: We do not view this as a humanitarian mission with a life-cycle of a month. This is going to be a long slog