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LEDC Case Study Haiti Earthquake (2010)
A 7.0 magnitude earthquake.
12th January 2010, at 1653 hours.
It had an epicentre near the town of Léogâne , approximately 25km west of Port-au-Prince, the
focus of the earthquake was 13km below the surface of the earth.
Haiti is situated to the north of the Caribbean plate, on a conservative plate boundary with the North
The North American plate is moving west, this movement is not smooth and there is friction
between the North American and Caribbean plate. Pressure builds between the two plates until it is
released as an earthquake.
What were the effects?
3,500,000 people were affected by the quake.
220,000 people died, 300,000 people were injured (211 people were rescued).
1.5 million people became homeless.
Over 600,000 people left their home in Port-au-Prince, most stayed with host families.
Nearly 200,000 houses were badly damaged and 100,000 destroyed.
4,000 schools damaged or destroyed, including 80% of schools in Port-au-Prince.
60% of Government/Administrative buildings damaged or destroyed.
Why did so many people die?
The earthquake occurred at shallow depth this means that the seismic waves had to travel a
smaller distance through the earth to reach the surface so maintained more of their energy.
The earthquake struck in the most densely populated area of the country.
Haiti is the poorest country in the southern hemisphere.
The buildings in Port-au-Prince and other areas of Haiti were in very poor condition in general and
were not constructed to be earthquake resistant.
3 million people live in Port-au-Prince with the majority living in slum conditions after rapid
Haiti only has only one airport with one runway. The control tower was badly damaged in the quake
and worldwide rescue teams took up to 48 hours to arrive due, locals used their bare hands to
attempt to dig people out of the rubble. The port was also unusable due to damage.
Initially, aid had been piling up at the airport due to lack of truck and people to
distribute,water/food took days to arrive and there was not enough to go round.
There was a severe shortage of doctors and many people died of injuries such as broken limbs.
What was the situation like 2 years later?
Already an impoverished nation, Haiti appeared in many ways to of barely started recovery 24
months later, despite $2 billion foreign aid.
So many homes were destroyed that temporary tent cities set up in Port-au-Prince have began to
appear permanent more than half a million people still live in dirty and dangerous encampments
throughout the Haitian capital.
Schools are being rebuilt.
Jobs and a sense of security remain elusive.