2010 Haiti earthquake
The 2010 Haiti earthquake (Séisme de 2010 à Haïti; Tranblemanntè 12 janvye 2010 nan peyi Ayiti) was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake, with an epicenter near the town of Léogâne (Ouest), approximately west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. The earthquake occurred at 16:53 local time (21:53 UTC) on Tuesday, 12 January 2010. to 316,000; these have been widely characterized as deliberately inflated by the Haitian government. The nation's history of national debt, prejudicial trade policies by other countries, and foreign intervention into national affairs, contributed to the existing poverty and poor housing conditions that increased the death toll from the disaster.
The earthquake caused major damage in Port-au-Prince, Jacmel and other cities in the region. Notable landmark buildings were significantly damaged or destroyed, including the Presidential Palace, the National Assembly building, the Port-au-Prince Cathedral, and the main jail. Among those killed were Archbishop of Port-au-Prince Joseph Serge Miot, Strong shaking associated with intensity IX on the Modified Mercalli scale (MM) was recorded in Port-au-Prince and its suburbs. It was also felt in several surrounding countries and regions, including Cuba (MM III in Guantánamo), Jamaica (MM II in Kingston), Venezuela (MM II in Caracas), Puerto Rico (MM II–III in San Juan), and the bordering Dominican Republic (MM III in Santo Domingo).
The quake occurred in the vicinity of the northern boundary where the Caribbean tectonic plate shifts eastwards by about per year in relation to the North American plate. The strike-slip fault system in the region has two branches in Haiti, the Septentrional-Oriente fault in the north and the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault in the south; both its location and focal mechanism suggested that the January 2010 quake was caused by a rupture of the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault, which had been locked for 250 years, gathering stress. Workers from the charity Save the Children reported hearing "already weakened structures collapsing" in Port-au-Prince, Nearly two weeks later it was reported that the beach of the small fishing town of Petit Paradis was hit by a localised tsunami shortly after the earthquake, probably as a result of an underwater slide, and this was later confirmed by researchers. At least three people were swept out to sea by the wave and were reported dead. Witnesses told reporters that the sea first retreated and a "very big wave" followed rapidly, crashing ashore and sweeping boats and debris into the ocean.
Damage to infrastructure
Essential servicesAmongst the widespread devastation and damage throughout Port-au-Prince and elsewhere, vital infrastructure necessary to respond to the disaster was severely damaged or destroyed. This included all hospitals in the capital; air, sea, and land transport facilities; and communication systems.
The quake affected the three Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) medical facilities around Port-au-Prince, causing one to collapse completely.
The earthquake also destroyed a nursing school in the capital and severely damaged the country's primary midwifery school. Construction standards are low in Haiti; the country has no building codes. Engineers have stated that it is unlikely many buildings would have stood through any kind of disaster. Structures are often raised wherever they can fit; some buildings were built on slopes with insufficient foundations or steel supports. A representative of Catholic Relief Services has estimated that about two million Haitians lived as squatters on land they did not own. The country also suffered from shortages of fuel and potable water even before the disaster.
President Préval and government ministers used police headquarters near the Toussaint L'Ouverture International Airport as their new base of operations, although their effectiveness was extremely limited; several parliamentarians were still trapped in the Presidential Palace, and offices and records had been destroyed. Some high-ranking government workers lost family members, or had to tend to wounded relatives. Although the president and his remaining cabinet met with UN planners each day, there remained confusion as to who was in charge and no single group had organized relief efforts as of 16 January. The government handed over control of the airport to the United States to hasten and ease flight operations, which had been hampered by the damage to the air traffic control tower.
Almost immediately Port-au-Prince's morgue facilities were overwhelmed. By 14 January, a thousand bodies had been placed on the streets and pavements. Government crews manned trucks to collect thousands more, burying them in mass graves. In the heat and humidity, corpses buried in rubble began to decompose and smell. Mati Goldstein, head of the Israeli ZAKA International Rescue Unit delegation to Haiti, described the situation as "Shabbat from hell. Everywhere, the acrid smell of bodies hangs in the air. It's just like the stories we are told of the Holocaust – thousands of bodies everywhere. You have to understand that the situation is true madness, and the more time passes, there are more and more bodies, in numbers that cannot be grasped. It is beyond comprehension."
Mayor Jean-Yves Jason said that officials argued for hours about what to do with the volume of corpses. The government buried many in mass graves, some above-ground tombs were forced open so bodies could be stacked inside, and others were burned. Mass graves were dug in a large field outside the settlement of Titanyen, north of the capital; tens of thousands of bodies were reported as having been brought to the site by dump truck and buried in trenches dug by earth movers. Max Beauvoir, a Vodou priest, protested the lack of dignity in mass burials, stating, "... it is not in our culture to bury people in such a fashion, it is desecration".
Towns in the eastern Dominican Republic began preparing for tens of thousands of refugees, and by 16 January hospitals close to the border had been filled to capacity with Haitians. Some began reporting having expended stocks of critical medical supplies such as antibiotics by 17 January. The border was reinforced by Dominican soldiers, and the government of the Dominican Republic asserted that all Haitians who crossed the border for medical assistance would be allowed to stay only temporarily. A local governor stated, "We have a great desire and we will do everything humanly possible to help Haitian families. But we have our limitations with respect to food and medicine. We need the helping hand of other countries in the area."
Slow distribution of resources in the days after the earthquake resulted in sporadic violence, with looting reported. There were also accounts of looters wounded or killed by vigilantes and neighbourhoods that had constructed their own roadblock barricades. Dr Evan Lyon of Partners in Health, working at the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince, claimed that misinformation and overblown reports of violence had hampered the delivery of aid and medical services.
Former US president Bill Clinton acknowledged the problems and said Americans should "not be deterred from supporting the relief effort" by upsetting scenes such as those of looting. Lt. Gen. P.K. Keen, deputy commander of US Southern Command, however, announced that despite the stories of looting and violence, there was less violent crime in Port-au-Prince after the earthquake than before.
In many neighbourhoods, singing could be heard through the night and groups of men coordinated to act as security as groups of women attempted to take care of food and hygiene necessities. During the days following the earthquake, hundreds were seen marching through the streets in peaceful processions, singing and clapping.
The earthquake caused an urgent need for outside rescuers to communicate with Haitians whose main or only language is Haitian Creole. As a result, a mobile translation program to translate between English and Haitian Creole had to be written quickly.
The earthquake struck in the most populated area of the country. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies estimated that as many as 3 million people had been affected by the quake. However, an investigation by Radio Netherlands has questioned the official death toll, reporting an estimate of 92,000 deaths as being a more realistic figure. On the first anniversary of the earthquake, 12 January 2011, Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said the death toll from the quake was more than 316,000, raising the figures from previous estimates.
Several experts have questioned the validity of the death toll numbers; Anthony Penna, professor emeritus in environmental history at Northeastern University, warned that casualty estimates could only be a "guesstimate", and Belgian disaster response expert Claude de Ville de Goyet noted that "round numbers are a sure sign that nobody knows." Edmond Mulet, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said, "I do not think we will ever know what the death toll is from this earthquake", and sports figures, including thirty members of the Fédération Haïtienne de Football. At least 85 United Nations personnel working with MINUSTAH were killed, among them the Mission Chief, Hédi Annabi, his deputy, Luiz Carlos da Costa,
On 31 May 2011, an unreleased draft report based on a survey commissioned by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) challenged the Haiti earthquake death toll and several damage estimates. The unpublished report put the death toll between 46,000 and 85,000 and put the number of displaced persons at 895,000, of which only 375,000 remained in temporary shelters. The unreleased report, which compiled its figures from a door-to-door survey, was done by a Washington consulting firm, LTL Strategies. A US State Department spokesperson said the report had inconsistencies and would not be released until they were resolved. As of January 2012, USAID has not released the report and states at its website that 1.5 million people were displaced, of which 550,000 remain without permanent shelter. The most reliable academic estimate of the number of earthquake casualties in Haiti (over 95% were in the immediate Port-au-Prince area) "within six weeks of the earthquake" appears to be the 160,000 estimate in a 2010 University of Michigan study. and president René Préval. Raymond Joseph, Haiti's ambassador to the United States, and his nephew, singer Wyclef Jean, who was called upon by Préval to become a "roving ambassador" for Haiti, also pleaded for aid and donations. Images and testimonials circulating after the earthquake across the internet and through social media helped to intensify the reaction of global engagement.
Many countries responded to the appeals and launched fund-raising efforts, as well as sending search and rescue teams. The neighbouring Dominican Republic was the first country to give aid to Haiti, The hospitals in the Dominican Republic were made available; a combined effort of the Airports Department (DA), together with the Dominican Naval Auxiliaries, the UN and other parties formed the Dominican-Haitian Aerial Support Bridge, making the main Dominican airports available for support operations to Haiti. The Dominican website FlyDominicanRepublic.com made available to the internet, daily updates on airport information and news from the operations center on the Dominican side.
Other nations from farther afield also sent personnel, medicines, materiel, and other aid to Haiti. The first team to arrive in Port-au-Prince was ICE-SAR from Iceland, landing within 24 hours of the earthquake. A 50-member Chinese team arrived early Thursday morning. From the Middle East, the government of Qatar sent a strategic transport aircraft (C-17), loaded with 50 tonnes of urgent relief materials and 26 members from the Qatari armed forces, the internal security force (Lekhwiya), police force and the Hamad Medical Corporation, to set up a field hospital and provide assistance in Port-au-Prince and other affected areas in Haiti. A rescue team sent by the Israel Defense Forces' Home Front Command established a field hospital near the United Nations building in Port-au-Prince with specialised facilities to treat children, the elderly, and women in labor. It was set up in eight hours and began operations on the evening of 16 January. A Korean International Disaster Relief Team with 40 rescuers, medical doctors, nurses and 2 k-9s was deployed to epicenters to assist mitigation efforts of Haitian Government.
The American Red Cross announced on 13 January that it had run out of supplies in Haiti and appealed for public donations. Giving Children Hope worked to get much-needed medicines and supplies on the ground. Partners in Health (PIH), the largest health care provider in rural Haiti, was able to provide some emergency care from its ten hospitals and clinics, all of which were outside the capital and undamaged. MINUSTAH had over 9,000 uniformed peacekeepers deployed to the area. Most of these workers were initially involved in the search for survivors at the organization's collapsed headquarters.
The International Charter on Space and Major Disasters was activated, allowing satellite imagery of affected regions to be shared with rescue and aid organizations. Members of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook spread messages and pleas to send help. Facebook was overwhelmed by—and blocked—some users who were sending messages about updates. The American Red Cross set a record for mobile donations, raising US$7 million in 24 hours when they allowed people to send US$10 donations by text messages. The OpenStreetMap community responded to the disaster by greatly improving the level of mapping available for the area using post-earthquake satellite photography provided by GeoEye, and crowdmapping website Ushahidi coordinated messages from multiple sites to assist Haitians still trapped and to keep families of survivors informed. Some online poker sites hosted poker tournaments with tournament fees, prizes or both going to disaster relief charities. Google Earth updated its coverage of Port-au-Prince on 17 January, showing the earthquake-ravaged city.
Easing refugee immigration into Canada was discussed by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and in the US Haitians were granted Temporary protected status, a measure that permits about 100,000 illegal alien Haitians in the United States to stay legally for 18 months, and halts the deportations of 30,000 more, though it does not apply to Haitians outside the US. Local and state agencies in South Florida, together with the US government, began implementing a plan ("Operation Vigilant Sentry") for a mass migration from the Caribbean that had been laid out in 2003.
Several orphanages were destroyed in the earthquake. After the process for the adoption of 400 children by families in the US and the Netherlands was expedited, Unicef and SOS Children urged an immediate halt to adoptions from Haiti. Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of Save the Children said: "The vast majority of the children currently on their own still have family members alive who will be desperate to be reunited with them and will be able to care for them with the right support. Taking children out of the country would permanently separate thousands of children from their families—a separation that would compound the acute trauma they are already suffering and inflict long-term damage on their chances of recovery." The Canadian government worked to expedite around 100 adoption cases that were already underway when the earthquake struck, issuing temporary permits and waiving regular processing fees; the federal government also announced that it would cover adopted children's healthcare costs upon their arrival in Canada until they could be covered under provincially administered public healthcare plans.
Rescue and relief efforts
Rescue efforts began in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, with able-bodied survivors extricating the living and the dead from the rubble of the many buildings that had collapsed. Treatment of the injured was hampered by the lack of hospital and morgue facilities: the Argentine military field hospital, which had been serving MINUSTAH, was the only one available until 13 January. Rescue work intensified only slightly with the arrival of doctors, police officers, military personnel and firefighters from various countries two days after the earthquake.
From 12 January, the International Committee of the Red Cross, which has been working in Haiti since 1994, focused on bringing emergency assistance to victims of the catastrophe. It worked with its partners within the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, particularly the Haitian Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Running short of medical supplies, some teams had to work with any available resources, constructing splints out of cardboard and reusing latex gloves. Other rescue units had to withdraw as night fell, amid security fears. Over 3,000 people had been treated by Médecins Sans Frontières as of 18 January. Ophelia Dahl, director of Partners in Health, reported, "there are hundreds of thousands of injured people. I have heard the estimate that as many as 20,000 people will die each day that would have been saved by surgery."
An MSF aircraft carrying a field hospital was repeatedly turned away by US air traffic controllers, who had assumed control at Toussaint L'Ouverture International Airport. Four other MSF aircraft were also turned away. First responders voiced frustration with the number of relief trucks sitting unused at the airport. Aid workers blamed US-controlled airport operations for prioritising the transportation of security troops over rescuers and supplies;
The US military acknowledged the non-governmental organizations' complaints concerning flight-operations bias and promised improvement while noting that up to 17 January 600 emergency flights had landed and 50 were diverted; by the first weekend of disaster operations, diversions had been reduced to three on Saturday and two on Sunday. The airport staff was strengthened in order to support 100 landings a day, compared to the 35 a day that the airport gets during normal operation. A spokesman for the joint task force running the airport confirmed that, though more flights were requesting landing slots, none was being turned away.
Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim and French Minister of State for Cooperation Alain Joyandet criticised the perceived preferential treatment for US aid arriving at the airport. A spokesman for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the French government had not protested officially with regard to the management of the airport. US officials acknowledged that coordination of the relief effort is central to Haitian recovery. President Préval asked for calm coordination between assisting nations without mutual accusations.
Based on US Air Force logs documenting activity at the airport, the Associated Press largely disproved the claim that the US held up aid in favor of military flights. The US military initially gave priority to military units in order to secure the airport, distribute aid, and provide security, but after that, incoming relief flights were cleared or rejected on a first-come, first-served basis. According to a US Air Force captain who had coordinated flight schedules, nearly all groups sending aid insisted their shipment was urgent. Those flights that were rejected were diverted to the Dominican Republic, and their cargoes were unloaded and taken to Haiti by land.
At the peak of the relief efforts, the airport was in a state of chaos. Normally, the airport, with a single runway and 10 spaces for large planes, handled 20 flights a day. After the earthquake struck, hundreds of planes rushed to Haiti without designated landing times. On average, a plane would land or take off every two minutes. The situation was complicated by the lack of room on ramps for planes to unload their cargo, and some planes did not have enough fuel to leave. The supply backup at the airport was expected to ease as the apron management improved, and when the perceived need for heavy security diminished.
By 14 January, more than 20 countries had sent military personnel to the country, with Canada, the United States, and the Dominican Republic providing the largest contingents. The supercarrier arrived at maximum possible speed on 15 January with 600,000 emergency food rations, 100,000 ten-litre water containers, and an enhanced wing of 19 helicopters; 130,000 litres of drinking water were transferred to shore on the first day.
The helicopter carrier sailed with three large dock landing ships and two survey/salvage vessels, to create a "sea base" for the rescue effort. They were joined by the French Navy vessel Francis Garnier on 16 January, the same day the hospital ship and guided-missile cruiser left for Haiti. Another large French vessel was later ordered to Haiti, the amphibious transport dock Siroco.
International rescue efforts were restricted by traffic congestion and blocked roads. Although US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had previously ruled out dropping food and water by air as too dangerous, by 16 January, US helicopters were distributing aid by drops to areas impossible to reach by land.
In Jacmel, a city of 50,000, the mayor claimed that 70 percent of the homes had been damaged and that the quake had killed 300 to 500 people and left some 4,000 injured. The small airstrip suffered damage rendering it unusable for supply flights until 20 January. The Canadian navy vessel HMCS Halifax was deployed to the area on 18 January; the Canadians joined Colombian rescue workers, Chilean doctors, a French mobile clinic, and Sri Lankan relief workers who had already responded to calls for aid.
About 64,000 people living in the three adjacent agricultural communities of Durissy, Morne a Chandelle, and Les Palmes were relatively unharmed because most of the people were working in the fields when the quakes struck. All their churches, chapels, and at least 8,000 homes were destroyed.
On 17 January 2010, British search and rescue teams were the first to reach Léogane, the town at the epicenter of the quake. The Canadian ship HMCS Athabaskan reached the area on 19 January, and by 20 January some 250–300 Canadian personnel were assisting relief efforts in the town. By 19 January, staff of the International Red Cross had also managed to reach the town, which they described as "severely damaged ... the people there urgently need assistance." By 20 January they had reached Petit-Goâve as well, where they set up two first-aid posts and distributed first-aid kits.
Over the first weekend 130,000 food packets and 70,000 water containers were distributed to Haitians, as safe landing areas and distribution centers such as golf courses were secured. Nearly 2,000 rescuers had arrived from 43 different groups, with 161 search dogs; the airport had handled 250 tons of relief supplies by the end of the weekend. Reports from Sunday showed a record-breaking number of successful rescues, with at least 12 survivors pulled from Port-au-Prince's rubble, bringing the total number of rescues to 110.
The buoy tender USCG Oak and were on scene by 18 January to assess damage to the port and work to reopen it, and by 21 January one pier at the Port-au-Prince seaport was functional, offloading humanitarian aid, and a road had been repaired to make transport into the city easier. In an interview on 21 January, Leo Merores, Haiti's ambassador to the UN, said that he expected the port to be fully functional again within two weeks. The Navy had conducted 336 air deliveries, delivered of water, 532,440 bottles of water, 111,082 meals and of medical supplies by 20 January. Hospital ship Comfort began operations on 20 January, completing the arrival of the first group of sea-base vessels; this came as a new flotilla of USN ships were assigned to Haiti, including survey vessels, ferries, elements of the maritime prepositioning and underway replenishment fleets, and a further three amphibious operations ships, including another helicopter carrier, .
On 22 January the UN and United States formalised the coordination of relief efforts by signing an agreement giving the US responsibility for the ports, airports and roads, and making the UN and Haitian authorities responsible for law and order. The UN stated that it had resisted formalising the organization of the relief effort to allow as much leeway as possible for those wishing to assist in the relief effort, but with the new agreement "we're leaving that emergency phase behind". The UN also urged organizations to coordinate aid efforts through its mission in Haiti to allow for better scheduling of the arrival of supplies. On 23 January the Haitian government officially called off the search for survivors, and most search and rescue teams began to prepare to leave the country. However, as late as 8 February 2010, survivors were still being discovered, as in the case of Evan Muncie, 28, found in the rubble of a grocery store.
On 5 February, ten Baptist missionaries from Idaho led by Laura Silsby were charged with criminal association and kidnapping for trying to smuggle 33 children out of Haiti. The missionaries claimed they were rescuing orphaned children but investigations revealed that more than 20 of the children had been taken from their parents after they were told the children would have a better life in America. In an interview, Kenneth Merten, the United States Ambassador to Haiti, stated that the US justice system would not interfere and that "the Haitian justice system will do what it has to do." By 9 March 2010, all but Silsby were deported and she remained incarcerated.
Social networking organizations such as Crisis Camp Haiti were developed to aid in the structure and coordination of relief efforts in Haiti and future catastrophic events as well.
On 10 April, due to the potential threat of mudslides and flooding from the upcoming rainy season, the Haitian government began operations to move thousands of refugees to a more secure location north of the capital.
US President Barack Obama announced that former presidents Bill Clinton, who also acts as the UN special envoy to Haiti, and George W. Bush would coordinate efforts to raise funds for Haiti's recovery. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Haiti on 16 January to survey the damage and stated that US$48 million had been raised already in the US to help Haiti recover. Following the meeting with Secretary Clinton, President Préval stated that the highest priorities in Haiti's recovery were establishing a working government, clearing roads, and ensuring the streets were cleared of bodies to improve sanitary conditions.
US Vice President Joe Biden stated on 16 January that President Obama "does not view this as a humanitarian mission with a life cycle of a month. This will still be on our radar screen long after it's off the crawler at CNN. This is going to be a long slog."
Trade and Industry Minister Josseline Colimon Fethiere estimated that the earthquake's toll on the Haitian economy would be massive, with one in five jobs lost. In response to the earthquake, foreign governments offered badly needed financial aid. The European Union promised €330 million for emergency and long-term aid. Brazil announced R$375 million for long-term recovery aid, R$25 million of which in immediate funds. The United Kingdom's Secretary of State for International Development Douglas Alexander called the result of the earthquake an "almost unprecedented level of devastation", and committed the UK to ₤20 million in aid, while France promised €10 million. Italy announced it would waive repayment of the €40 million it had loaned to Haiti, On 14 January, the US government announced it would give US$100 million to the aid effort and pledged that the people of Haiti "will not be forgotten".
In the aftermath of the earthquake, the government of Canada announced that it would match the donations of Canadians up to a total of C$50 million. Canadians were able to donate through the Humanitarian Coalition which distributed funds to partner organizations working in the field. During this time the Humanitarian Coalition raised over C$15 Million. After a United Nations call for help for the people affected by the earthquake, Canada pledged an additional C$60 million in aid on 19 January 2010, bringing Canada's total contribution to C$135 million. By 8 February 2010, the federal International Co-operation Department, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), had already provided about C$85 million in humanitarian aid through UN agencies, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and to organizations such as CARE, Médecins du Monde, Save the Children, Oxfam Quebec, the Centre for International Studies and co-operation, and World Vision. On 23 January 2010, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the federal government had lifted the limit on the amount of money allocated for matching individual donations to relief efforts, and that the federal government would continue to match individual donations until 12 February 2010; by the deadline, Canadians had privately raised C$220 million. On top of matching donations, International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda pledged an additional C$290 million in long-term relief to be spent between 2010 and 2012, including C$8 million in debt relief to Haiti, part of a broader cancellation of the country's overall World Bank debt.
In addition to Canada's federal government, the governments of several of the provinces and territories of Canada also announced that they would provide immediate emergency aid to Haiti. On 18 January 2010, the province of Quebec, whose largest city – Montreal – houses the world's largest Haitian diaspora, pledged C$3 million in emergency aid. Both the provincial government of Quebec and the Canadian federal government reaffirmed their commitment to rebuilding Haiti at the 2010 Francophonie Summit; Prime Minister Harper used his opening speech to "tell the head of the Haitian delegation to keep up their spirits" and to urge other nations to continue to support recovery efforts.
President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal offered interested Haitians free land in Senegal; depending on how many respond to the offer, this could include up to an entire region.
Prime Minister Bellerive announced that from 20 January, people would be helped to relocate outside the zone of devastation, to areas where they may be able to rely on relatives or better fend for themselves; people who have been made homeless would be relocated to the makeshift camps created by residents within the city, where a more focused delivery of aid and sanitation could be achieved. After the earthquake, thousands of Port-au-Prince residents began returning to the rural towns they came from.
On 25 January a one-day conference was held in Montreal to assess the relief effort and discuss further plans. Prime Minister Bellerive told delegates from 20 countries that Haiti would need "massive support" for its recovery from the international community. A donors' conference was expected to be held at the UN headquarters in New York in March, That committee is overseeing the US$5.3 billion pledged internationally for the first two years of Haiti's reconstruction.
The commission was critiqued by Haitian groups for lacking Haitian civil society representation and accountability mechanisms. Half the representation on the commission was given to foreigners who effectively bought their seats by pledging certain amounts of money. An international development consultant contracted by the commission was quoted as saying, “Look, you have to realize the IHRC [commission] was not intended to work as a structure or entity for Haiti or Haitians. It was simply designed as a vehicle for donors to funnel multinationals’ and NGOs’ project contracts.”
The Netherlands sponsored a project, called Radio555. The Dutch radio channels 3FM, Radio 538 and Radio Veronica all broadcast under the name of Radio555, funded by a contribution of €80 million.
Several organizations of the US building industry and government, such as the Department of Homeland Security and the International Code Council, among others, reported that they were compiling a "Haiti Toolkit" coordinated by the National Institute of Building Sciences. The toolkit would comprise building technology resources and best practices for consideration by the Haitian government with the goal of creating a more resilient infrastructure to prevent future losses of life.
Immediately following the earthquake, Real Medicine Foundation began providing medical staffing, in-kind medical supplies and strategic coordination to help meet the surging needs of the health crisis on the ground. Working in close partnership with other relief organizations, Real Medicine organized deployments of volunteer medical specialists to meet the needs of partner hospitals and clinics at the Haiti–Dominican Republic border and in Port-au-Prince, provided direct funding, medical supplies and pharmaceuticals to local health facilities and partner hospitals, provided advisory services and coordination to local health facilities, including physical therapy support, and coordinated mobile health outreaches, field clinics and food supplies to outlying villages overlooked in the relief effort.
On 15 January 2011, the Catholic Relief Services announced a US$200 million, five-year relief and reconstruction program that covers shelter, health, livelihoods, and child protection among its program areas.
Status of the recoverySix months after the quake as much as 98% of the rubble remained uncleared. An estimated 26 million cubic yards (20 million cubic meters) remained, making most of the capital impassable, According to a CBS report, US$3.1 billion had been pledged for humanitarian aid and was used to pay for field hospitals, plastic tarps, bandages, and food, plus salaries, transportation and upkeep of relief workers. By May 2010, enough aid had been raised internationally to give each displaced family a cheque for US$37,000.
In July 2010, CNN returned to Port-au-Prince and reported, "It looks like the quake just happened yesterday", and Imogen Wall, spokeswoman for the United Nations office of humanitarian affairs in Haiti, said that "six months from that time it may still look the same." Land ownership posed a particular problem for rebuilding because so many pre-quake homes were not officially registered. "Even before the national registry fell under the rubble, land tenure was always a complex and contentious issue in Haiti. Many areas of Port-au-Prince were settled either by tonton makout – Duvalier's death squads – given land for their service or by squatters. In many cases land ownership was never officially registered. Even if this logistical logjam were to be cleared, the vast majority of Port-au-Prince residents, up to 85%, did not own their homes before the earthquake."
Haitian grassroots groups advocated for the government to fulfill the right to housing as designated in the Haitian constitution, and for donor governments to support this as well. They also worked to push the international community to recognize the wave of evictions from camps that started as early as three months after the earthquake and to put protections in place, but little was done in response.
In September 2010 there were over one million refugees still living in tents, and the humanitarian situation was characterized as still being in the emergency phase, according to the Apostolic Nuncio to Haiti, Archbishop Bernard Auza. He went on to say that the number was rising instead of diminishing, and reported that the state had decided to first rebuild downtown Port-au-Prince and a new government center, but reconstruction had not yet begun.
In October 2010, Refugees International characterized the aid agencies as dysfunctional and inexperienced saying,"The people of Haiti are still living in a state of emergency, with a humanitarian response that appears paralyzed". It was reported that gang leaders and land owners were intimidating the displaced and that sexual, domestic, and gang violence in and around the camps was rising. They claimed that rape of Haitian women and girls who had been living in camps since the January earthquake was increasing, in part, because the United Nations wasn't doing enough to protect them.
In October, a cholera epidemic broke out, probably introduced by foreign aid workers. Cholera most often affects poor countries with limited access to clean water and proper sanitation. By the end of 2010, more than 3,333 had died at a rate of about 50 deaths a day.2011
In January 2011, one year after the quake, Oxfam published a report on the status of the recovery. According to the report, relief and recovery were at a standstill due to government inaction and indecision on the part of the donor countries. The report stated:
"One year on, only five percent of the rubble has been cleared and only 15 percent of the required basic and temporary houses have been built. House building on a large scale cannot be started before the enormous amount of rubble is cleared. The government and donors must prioritize this most basic step toward helping people return home".
Robert Fox, executive director of Oxfam Canada, said:
"The dysfunction has been aided unabated by the way the international community has organized itself, where pledges have been made and they haven't followed through [and] where they come to the table with their own agendas and own priorities. Most donors provided funds for transitional housing but very little money for clearing rubble or repairing houses". Fox said that in many instances rubble removal "means it was [moved] off someone's property onto the road in front of the property".
According to a UNICEF report, "Still today more than one million people remain displaced, living in crowded camps where livelihoods, shelter and services are still hardly sufficient for children to stay healthy". Amnesty International reported that armed men were preying with impunity on girls and women in displacement camps, worsening the trauma of victims who have lost homes, livelihoods and loved ones.
On the first anniversary of the earthquake, Haitian-born Michaëlle Jean, who served as the Governor General of Canada at the time of the disaster, and who became United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Special Envoy for Haiti on 8 November 2010, voiced her anger at the slow rate of aid delivery. She blamed the international community for abandoning its commitments. In a public letter co-authored with UNESCO head Irina Bokova, Jean said, "As time passes, what began as a natural disaster is becoming a disgraceful reflection on the international community." The Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, led by former US President Bill Clinton and Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, had been set up to facilitate the flow of funds toward reconstruction projects in April 2010, but as of January 2011, no major reconstruction had started. Venezuela and the US, which promised the major share of reconstruction funds, have disbursed only 24% and 30%, respectively. Japan and Finland are among the few donors to have fully met their pledges. The data shows that some crucial sectors face particularly large funding gaps. In 2010 and 2011, for example, donors disbursed just US$125 million of the US$311 million in grants allocated to agriculture projects, and only US$108 million of the US$315 million in grants allocated to health projects. Only 6% of bilateral aid for reconstruction projects has gone through Haitian institutions, and less than 1% of relief funding has gone through the government of Haiti.
A January 2012 Oxfam report said that a half a million Haitians remained homeless, still living under tarps and in tents. Watchdog groups have criticized the reconstruction process saying that part of the problem is that charities spent a considerable amount of money on "soaring rents, board members' needs, overpriced supplies and imported personnel," the Miami Herald reported. "A lot of good work was done; the money clearly didn't all get squandered," but, "A lot just wasn't responding to needs on the ground. Millions were spent on ad campaigns telling people to wash their hands. Telling them to wash their hands when there's no water or soap is a slap in the face."
On 25 August 2012, recovery was hampered due to Tropical Storm Isaac impacting Haiti's southern peninsula. There it caused flooding and 29 deaths according to local reporting. As a result of the 2010 earthquake, more than 400,000 Haitians continue to live in tents and experienced the storm without adequate shelter. In late October, with over 370,000 still living in tent camps, a second tropical storm, Hurricane Sandy, killed 55 and left large portions of Haiti under water.
At the 2012 Consultative Group meeting of the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), the Haitian delegation shared a "bottom-up" approach to disaster reduction and management based on community integration and sustainable development with a group of experts from approximately 38 nations.2013
According to the International Monetary Fund, more than half of the of debris have been removed, and 20% of it has been recycled.
The 2010 cholera outbreak has continued. According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it is considered the worst epidemic of cholera since the 1994 outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (called Zaire at that time). By August 2013, it had killed over 8,231 Haitians and hospitalized hundreds of thousands more. More than 6% of Haitians have had the disease. Care of cholera patients remains inadequate with much now done in tent facilities with rows of cots for patient treatment. The United Nations peace keeping force, widely believed responsible for the cholera outbreak, continues to refuse to accept responsibility, however, they have launched a $2.2 billion initiative to combat cholera and the construction of a $17 million teaching hospital in Mirebalais which will employ 800 Haitians and treat 185,000 people.
By the beginning of the year only a small part—$215 million—of the total funds collected for aid had been spent on permanent housing, with most of it—$1.2 billion—going for short-term solutions including tent camps, temporary shelters, and cash grants that paid a year's rent. In a 2013 statement, the American Red Cross reported that almost all of the money collected for quake relief has been spent or is scheduled for making progress permanent by ensuring people can leave camps and return to stable communities, which includes building new homes, repairing homes, completing a new hospital and clinic, and signing an agreement for a second hospital.2015 In 2015, NPR and ProPublica investigated the disappearance of US$500 million donated to the American Red Cross for earthquake relief, earlier described by the charity as the result of "one of the most successful fundraisers ever". Despite the claims of the American Red Cross that 130,000 homes had been built, the investigation discovered that only six had been built. The investigation reviewed "hundreds" of pages of internal documents and interviewed "more than a dozen" former and current staff members, investigating the organization's claim that 4.5 million Haitians had been helped "back on their feet." Joel Boutroue, a Haitian government advisor, said that this number would cover "100 percent of the urban area", and observed that it would mean the Red Cross had served every city in Haiti. Numerous other claims did not hold up under investigation. NPR found that the project was riddled with "multiple staffing changes", bureaucratic delays and a language barrier, as many of the Red Cross officials spoke neither French nor Haitian Creole. General counsel for the American Red Cross, David Meltzer, provided investigators with the NGO's official statistics, but would not elaborate on them. The public affairs office of the Red Cross disputed NPR and ProPublica's claims in an email, and claimed that their investigative report could cause an international incident. By June the American Red Cross had transferred the rebuilding efforts to the Haitian Red Cross. 2017 In 2017, the United Nations reported that 2.5 million Haitians were still in need of humanitarian aid. U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator Mourad Wahba said, “There are still about 55,000 people in camps and makeshift camps. Many are still living in unsanitary conditions due to displacement caused by the earthquake. We have a very long way to go.”
In 2016 Haiti was struck by Hurricane Matthew which leveled entire communities and caused an upsurge in the ongoing cholera epidemic which was introduced to the island by United Nation aide workers.
* 1692 Jamaica earthquake
- 1972 Nicaragua earthquake
- 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami
- 2010 Chile earthquake
- Health crisis
- List of earthquakes in 2010
- List of natural disasters in Haiti
- List of earthquakes in Haiti
- J/P Haitian Relief Organization
* 2010 Haiti cholera outbreak
- FAO and the Haiti earthquake
- The ICRC in Haiti, Features, photos, videos
- Illustration -Major earthquakes in the Caribbean since the 1600s and Haiti earthquake NY Times
- Haiti Learning and Accountability Portal Overview of ongoing and planned evaluation and accountability efforts by aid agencies operating in Haiti
- Haiti Reconstruction: USAID Infrastructure Projects Have Had Mixed Results and Face Sustainability Challenges: Testimony before the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, 9 October 2013 Government Accountability Office
- Aid-workers, academics and journalists discuss the social context of the earthquake and international response The Frontline Club, February 2010
- PreventionWeb 2010 Haiti Earthquake
Haiti Earthquake, 2010 Category:2010 tsunamis Category:Earthquakes in Haiti Category:January 2010 events in North America
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