Word count: 556 (not including headings, sub-headings, reference list, figures, in-text citations)
Haiti is one of the most disaster prone countries on the planet, experiencing reoccurring floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and tropical storms, placing a dent in the countries social and economical development. The 2010, 7.0 magnitude Haiti earthquake was the most severe natural catastrophe recorded in the countries history. (Borenstein, 2010) Here, we investigate the nature and causes of the earthquake (human and geographical), followed by the preparation and recovery of the disaster. Furthermore we look at how we could vastly improve the countries preparedness and ability to cope with this cataclysm.
Nature of the natural hazard:
On Tuesday, 12th January 2010, a powerful 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck southern Haiti. An estimated 3 million people were affected by the quake, approximately 222,570 people were killed, and more than 300,000 people were injured from the disaster. (Borenstein, 2010) The epicentre was near the town of ‘Léogâne’, approximately 25km west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital. The destructive earthquake severely damaged infrastructure including the vital resources necessary to respond to the disaster. This included all hospitals and medical facilities in the capital, air, sea, and land transport facilities, and communication systems (Harris, 2010). More than 188,383 houses were left severely damaged and 105,000 were completely destroyed by the earthquake (Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) 2010). As a result, an estimated 1.5million people became homeless (DEC, 2010).
Figure 1: Map of epicenter depicting earthquake intensity and damage of surrounding regions. Source: BBC news published 18th January 2010 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8466385.stm
Geographic and human factors that contributed to the disaster (causes)
Although a hazard such as an