Haiti Earthquake Case Study

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In this essay I will discuss the risk management in the Haitian earthquake 2010 and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami 2011. I will compare the risk management and mitigation procedures each country had in place and how the natural hazard impacted on their society. I picked Japan and Haiti as it allowed me to compare how a developed and undeveloped country coped when faced with a natural hazard.
United nations office for disaster risk reduction (2007) defines disaster risk management as ‘the systematic process of using administrative directives, organizations, and operational skills and capacities to implement strategies, policies and improved coping capacities in order to lessen the adverse impacts of hazards and the possibility of disaster.’
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Even though the earthquake in Japan was significantly stronger than the Haitian earthquake about 14 times more people lost their lives in Haiti than in Japan. The cost of the earthquakes to each nation was extremely different also. The cost to repair the destruction was approximately 38 times more in Japan yet the World Bank estimated that they would recover in 5 years (BBC, 2011) unlike Haiti whose debt was reduced by the World Bank to aid their recovery due to the poverty of the nation. Haiti’s recovery was and still is very much dependent on aid. In the first 7 days after the earthquake Haiti received $274million in donations whereas Japan received $87million (Dickler, J., 2011). This was primarily because people recognised Japan was a developed country with infrastructure in place to deal with natural hazards unlike…show more content…
The humanitarian response to the disaster faced many obstacles such as a lack of transportation, a limited communication system and damage to government buildings and hospitals. People who were to play a key role in the recovery of Haiti were missing or dead for example Haitian government officials, UN personnel and international aid workers. This put the emergency response on the back foot immediately. On top of that there was no electricity or clean water. Efforts by international aid agencies to enter Haiti were also disrupted because all major transport routes were damaged; the Port au Prince Airport tower and the main port were destroyed. (Margesson, R. and Taft – Morales, M., 2010) Unlike Japan who led the way in their own recovery, Haiti depended on foreign organisations to create a plan for their recovery and emergency response because there was no procedure in place prior to the earthquake. Before the earthquake, the World Bank was in the process of creating a disaster risk management plan in conjunction with the Haitian Government. However, the plan was still in its early stages and hurricanes were the main focus, because they are the most common natural disaster experienced on the island. (Margesson, R. and Taft – Morales, M., 2010) Therefore this plan was not of any benefit to Haitian authorities in their emergency response to the earthquake. A month after the earthquake, the Haitian government released
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