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The Effects & Cost of the 2010 Haiti Earthquake

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sciences
Wordcount: 2074 words Published: 18th Aug 2021

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Earthquakes happen in different parts of the world and they lead to negative consequences including death, destruction of buildings and huge losses in economy. Before studying one of the most important and hazardous natural disasters which took place seven years ago, we have to take into consideration the meaning of earthquakes. As a matter of fact, earthquake is a natural disaster according to which the layers of the earth move or tremble when the crust is ruptured or slipped. In addition, during such rupture across the fault line at which earthquakes happen, a kind of energy provided with elasticity is emitted from between rocks that could be pressured. While these amounts of energy could be stocked throughout years and emitted in less than a second, pressure existed between rocks as well as strain lead to the storage of more quantities of elastic energy causing the increase in the possibility of occurrence of earthquakes. On the other side, when this energy is released, a particular type of sound waves named seismic provided with low rates of frequency are spread and distributed across the surface of the earth or among its layers. Surprisingly, more than three million earthquakes happen every year. Nevertheless, people do not feel or notice them. On the contrary, earthquakes which surpass five degrees on the Richter scale are considered as one of the most terrifying and disastrous natural disasters that humans witness their occurrence on the surface of the earth and that could lead to destructive outcomes.

(Earthquakes: introduction)

Haiti earthquake

One of the massive earthquakes that took place in the United States in 2010 was Haiti earthquake. It is worth mentioning that such earthquake occurred along Hispaniola which is a West Indian island. In spite of the fact that such island includes the two states of Dominican Republic and Haiti, the latter country was the most damaged one and the state that struggled more after the negative consequences of the earthquake. While the death toll which was released was not able to determine the numbers of casualties resulted from such chaos, the government of the country mentioned that more than three hundred thousand people were dead. Nevertheless, other resources stated that the real number was smaller than what was announced. In addition, a lot of Haitians were asked to evacuate the area and leave their homes. At 4:53 pm, there was a huge and strong hit by the earthquake. Such hit extended about more than twenty five kilometers along the coast of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. Besides, the magnitude of the first shock was about seven degrees. Then another two shocks happened whose degrees reached five point nine and five point five. Later, a lot of shocks took place such as the shock that happened on the twenty of January at a small town called Petit Goave which is fifty five kilometers away from Port-au-Prince. As a matter of fact, Haiti did not witness the occurrence of any earthquakes comparing to Haiti earthquake when talking about strength, enormity and degree.

(Pallardy, 2016)

On the other hand, such natural catastrophe contributed in the death of more than two thousand hundred persons as well as the injuries and homelessness of more than six hundred thousand persons who were struggling in order to survive and in order to search for the primary resources of living so that they could be able to maintain their lives. In addition, the earthquake managed to convert the situations in Haiti upside down on a local, political, economic and environmental scale. As a matter of fact, such earthquake has led to the breakdown of the government there whose ruling of the state was very weak and fragile. As a result of the inability and failure in managing and controlling situations during the occurrence of catastrophes and disasters, the government resorted to the dependence on aids and humanitarian relief from other countries in order to be able to provide people with the resources required for their survival. What the government managed to do is offering those survivors tents and camps where they could live their transitional life till the occurrence of something new.

(The Shockwave That Changed A Nation, 2010)

Based on what was mentioned by the Humanitarian Action Plan for the Haitian state three years ago, more than one hundred and seventy two thousand persons were obliged by governmental orders to leave their houses in order to live in more than three hundred camps in 2013. Moreover, services offered to displaced persons such as health and WASH services have witnessed a quick decline comparing to the course of the displacement event of those survivors. On the other hand, there was a high risk, which more than sixteen thousand families who used to live in about fifty camps, had to face. Such risk is represented in the fact that these families could be forced to evacuate the area. In addition to the previous information and data, other eight thousand persons who used to live in camps were subjected to the risk of suffering from floods. According to what was indicated by OCHA in 2014, about one hundred and for thousand persons were remained in the state. Nevertheless, they were obliged to live in camps. Furthermore, there was no intention of any kind of relocation programs offered to more than seventy thousand IDPs. Finally, IOM has stated in 2014 that more than eighty thousand Haitians had the ability to survive and live their transitional life in more than one hundred camps in September.

(Haiti: Earthquakes – Jan 2010)

Effect of Haiti earthquake

According the statistics, the damage resulted from this Haitian earthquake was ranged between seven and half and eight and half billion American dollars. In addition, there was a decline in the gross domestic product of the state estimated by five point one percent. It is worth mentioning that such earthquake has led to the destruction of the basic airport in Haiti along with a large number of roads and finally the majority of ports. Moreover, the earthquake has resulted in the damage of more than one hundred thousand houses and homes based on what was mentioned by the studies and researches conducted by the Inter-American Development Bank. On the other side, the capital of Haiti named Port-au-Prince was unfortunately hit by the Haitian earthquake. As a result, the government remained paralyzed and did not succeed in eliminating chaos and returning order to the state along with the inability to take in charge of the situation. Besides, almost one of each four servants who used to live in Port-au-Prince was found dead. In addition to the previously mentioned information, the earthquake contributed in the damage of more than half of schools and almost sixty percent of the main constructions and establishments in the state. No one can deny the fact that one of the least countries regarding wealth, fortune and economic prosperity in the entire western hemisphere was Haiti. In fact, the majority of public there is considered ultra-poor according to the international statistics and measurements. Furthermore, more than half of them used to live in despicable circumstances of living. On the other hand, a huge percentage of Haitians there work as farmers in order to become the breadwinners of their families. Finally, the earthquake managed to cause a lot of damage since the resistance of the Haitian state against natural catastrophes is weak due to deforestation.  (Amadeo, 2016)

Humanitarian relief after the occurrence of Haiti earthquake

One of the main international organizations, which had the ability to offer humanitarian aid and relief to the state of Haiti after the occurrence of such destructive earthquake along with attracting the attention of the whole world to the importance of providing people there with assistance so that they could be able to survive, was the United Nations. Thanks to the donations received from certain countries around the globe as well as collaboration between various elements including people, organizations and governmental authorities, the United Nations succeeded in achieving development and improvement in the process of getting Haiti back to life especially after this devastating earthquake happened. Furthermore, the United Nations managed to cooperate with other communities that had the chance to offer donations in order to offer Haitian populations aid and relief on the long term. In addition, the foundation of United Nations contributed in the collection of donations estimated by four million American dollars to help those people to survive and live in normal conditions. As a matter of fact, such donations provided the United Nations with the ability to do the following:

  • First: giving more than one hundred thousand American dollars to projects of solar light.
  • Second: offering the needed resources for life such as fresh water, healthy food and health care as well as shelters due to the donation delivered to the UN which reached three million dollars in order to be able to control and manage risks and hazards in the future.
  • Third: taking part in the process of recycling about twenty percent of the debris resulted from the earthquake.
  • Fourth: offering Haitian people about three hundred thousand job opportunities.
  • Fifth: offering more than two thousand Haitian workers training in the field of development and life recovery.
  • Sixth: supplying the United Nations Population Fund with more than seven hundred thousand American dollars to get resources regarding maternal health along with offering street lights which depend on solar energy in order to provide Haitians especially women and young girl protection, safety and security.
  • Seventh: giving more than two hundred thousand American dollars to the development program related to the UN since such program is considered as a trial in order to help people there get jobs and work so that they could be able to remove debris resulted from the earthquake. (HAITI EARTHQUAKE RESPONSE, 2013)


In a nutshell, natural disasters are considered as one of the most destructive events that could be faced by any country around the world. In addition, one of these catastrophes that could lead to the total destruction and demolishment of states is earthquakes. Earthquakes happen due to the slippage between layers of the earth. As a result, a lot of damages occur leading to the huge percentage of casualties, demolishment of houses and constructions along with the displacement of many people out of their homes. That’s why countries have to be well prepared for these events in order to prevent their negative consequences as well as protecting people there from any danger or hazard that might threaten their lives.


The Shockwave That Changed A Nation. (2010). Retrieved March 21, 2017, from Haiti earthquake 2010: http://haitiearthquake.web.unc.edu/

HAITI EARTHQUAKE RESPONSE. (2013). Retrieved March 21, 2017, from United Nations Foundation: http://www.unfoundation.org/who-we-are/impact/our-impact/health-data-disaster-relief/haiti-earthquake-response.html?referrer=https://www.google.com.eg/

Amadeo, K. (2016). Haiti Earthquake: Facts, Damage, Effects on Economy. Retrieved March 21, 2017, from The balance: https://www.thebalance.com/haiti-earthquake-facts-damage-effects-on-economy-3305660

Earthquakes: introduction. (n.d.). Retrieved March 21, 2017, from SMS Tsunami Warning: http://www.sms-tsunami-warning.com/pages/earthquakes-introduction

Haiti: Earthquakes – Jan 2010. (n.d.). Retrieved March 21, 2017, from relief web: http://reliefweb.int/disaster/eq-2010-000009-hti

Pallardy, R. (2016). Haiti earthquake of 2010. Retrieved March 21, 2017, from Encyclopaedia Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/event/Haiti-earthquake-of-2010


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