Case Study Haiti Earthquake

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Case study: Haiti 2010 earthquake
Background
Haiti is a small LEDC island located in the Caribbean south east of the USA and of Cuba and
neighbouring the Atlantic Ocean. The capital is Port Au Prince; it is a densely populated area with 47
per cent living in urban areas.
The earthquake occurred on the 12th January at 4:53am and measured 7.6 on the Richter scale.
Causes
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 plate moves faster than
the other. Pressure and tension built up along the fault line and was eventually released as an
earthquake.
The Haiti earthquake epicentre 16km south west of Port au Prince and was unusually close to the
earth's surface only 8.1 miles underground and this increased the severity of tremors.
Effects
Primary effects Secondary effects
316,000 people were killed and 1 Collapsed buildings and shattered
million people were made homeless infrastructure made the emergency
300,000 people injured operation very difficult.
3 million people were affected by the The clothing industry had facilities
earthquake damaged, damaging the economy as 66
250,000 homes and 30,000 other per cent of Haiti's exports are clothes
buildings , including the presidents Morgue facilities were overwhelmed, so
palace and 60% of government bodies were piled in the streets,
buildings were either destroyed or spreading disease.
badly damaged Due to the slow distribution of resources
Communication went down including throughout Haiti, looting began to take
land lines, mobile phones and the place
internet. This made is very difficult to Local food prices increased
contact people in Haiti and to organise a Cholera breakout
response. Haiti government crippled ­ now one of
50 hospitals and 1300 schools were the most corrupt in the world
damaged. Port-au-Prince had only eight 1 in 5 people lost their jobs because so
functioning hospitals before the many buildings were destroyed
earthquake and all of these have been It was very difficult getting aid into the
destroyed or seriously damaged. area because of issues at the airport an
The main prison was destroyed and over generally poor management of the
4000 inmates escaped situation
The airport control tower, port and People were squashed into shanty
many roads were destroyed towns or onto the streets because their

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Why did so many people die?
The earthquake occurred at shallow depth ­ this meant that the seismic waves had to travel a
smaller distance through the earth to reach the surface so maintain more of their energy
The earthquake struck in the most densely populated area of the country
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere
The buildings in Port au Prince and other areas of Haiti were in very poor condition in
general and were not designed or constructed to be…read more

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The USA and Canada allowed the temporary relocation of Haitians to their respected
countries whilst relief efforts were underway.
Mass graves have been dug on the outskirts to bury high number of dead bodies
Immediate priority was to provide safe drinking water and shelter material for people who
had lost their homes. Water and sanitation was eventually supplied for 1.7 million people
810,000 people placed in aid camps.…read more

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