Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Analysis of the International and US Response to the Haiti Earthquake: Recommendations for Change

  • Thomas Kirsch, Lauren Sauer and Debarati Guha Sapir

Abstract

The 2010 earthquake in Haiti was unprecedented in its impact. The dual loss of the Haitian government and United Nations (UN) leadership led to an atypical disaster response driven by the US government and military. Although the response was massive, the leadership and logistical support were initially insufficient, and the UN cluster system struggled with the overwhelming influx of nontraditional agencies and individuals, which complicated the health care response. Moreover, the provision of care was beyond the country's health care standards. The management of the US government resembled a whole-of-government domestic response, combined with a massive military presence that went beyond logistical support. Among the most important lessons learned were the management of the response and how it could be strengthened by adapting a structure such as the domestic National Response Framework. Also, mechanisms were needed to increase the limited personnel to surge in a major response. One obvious pool has been the military, but the military needs to increase integration with the humanitarian community and improve its own humanitarian response expertise. In addition, information management needs standardized tools and analysis to improve its use of independent agencies.

(Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2012;6:200–208)

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence: Lauren Sauer, MS, Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Refugee and Disaster Response, B615 N Wolfe St, Baltimore, MD 21205 (e-mail: lsauer2@jhmi.edu).

References

Hide All
1.Cavallo, EPowell, ABecerra, OEstimating the Direct Economic Damage of the Earthquake in Haiti. Inter-American Development Bank Working Papers; February 2010. http://www.iadb.org/research/pub_desc.cfm?pub_id=IDB-WP-163. Accessed January 3, 2012.
2.United Nations General Assembly Humanitarian Assistance, Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation in Response to the Devastating Effects of the Earthquake in Haiti. Resolution 64/250.April 30, 2010. http://www.iom.int/jahia/webdav/shared/shared/mainsite/policy_and_research/un/64/a-res-64-250.pdf. Accessed January 3, 2012.
3.Inter-Agency Standing Committee. Response to the Humanitarian Crisis in Haiti: Following the 12 January 2010 Earthquake. http://www.humanitarianinfo.org/iasc/downloaddoc.aspx?docID=5366&type=any. Accessed January 3, 2012.
4.US Southern Command. Operation Unified Response: Haiti Earthquake Response. May 2010. http://www.southcom.mil/newsroom/Pages/Operation-Unified-Response-Support-to-Haiti-Earthquake-Relief-2010.aspx. Accessed July24, 2012.
5.The World Factbook. Central America and the Caribbean: Haiti. Central Intelligence Agency. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ha.html. Accessed January 3, 2012.
6.Rencoret, NStoddard, AHaver, KTaylor, GHarvey, PHaiti Earthquake Response: Context Analysis. Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action. July 2010. http://www.alnap.org/pool/files/haiti-context-analysis-final.pdf. Accessed January 3, 2012.
7.Pan American Health Organization. Haiti: Population Health Assessment Prior to the 2010 Earthquake. Health Information & Analysis; Health Surveillance, Disease Control and Prevention. January 21, 2010. http://new.paho.org/disasters/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=689&Itemid=. Accessed January 3, 2012.
8.World Food Programme Haiti Overview. http://www.wfp.org/countries/haiti. Accessed January 3, 2012.
9.Pan American Health Organization. Haiti: Health in the Americas , 2007. 2:412-429. http://www.paho.org/hia/archivosvol2/paisesing/Haiti%20English.pdf. Accessed January 3, 2012.
10.Institut Haïtien de Statistique et d'Informatique. Haiti: Departments, Major Cities, Towns & Agglomerations. City Population website. March 15, 2010. http://www.citypopulation.de/Haiti.html. Accessed January 3, 2012.
11.Transparency International. Corruption Perceptions Index 2010: Results by Country Table. Corruption Perceptions Index : 2010. http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2010/results. Accessed January 3, 2012.
12.United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Restoring a secure and stable environment. http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/minustah/. Accessed January 3, 2012.
13.Action Plan for the Reconstruction and the Development of Haiti.UNESCO. March 2010. http://whc.unesco.org/uploads/events/documents/event-725-2.pdf. Accessed January 3, 2012.
14.US Agency for InternationaI Development (USAID). Fact Sheet #5: Haiti-Earthquake. October 22, 2010. http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/humanitarian_assistance/disaster_assistance/countries/haiti/template/fs_sr/fy2011/haiti_eq_fs05_10-29-2010.pdf. Accessed January 3, 2012.
15.US Agency for InternationaI Development (USAID). Success Story: USAID Supports Urban Search and Rescue Operations in Haiti. Washington, DC: USAID; January 13, 2010.
16.US Agency for InternationaI Development (USAID). USAID Haiti Earthquake Taskforce (SBU) Situations Report #2. Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA), Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA); October 1, 2011.
17.Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Haiti Earthquake Response Quick Look Report. Washington, DC: FEMA; June 3, 2010.
18.US Agency for InternationaI Development (USAID). Fact Sheet #14; Haiti-Earthquake. January 26, 2010. http://www.usaid.gov/ht/docs/eqdocs/ofda_fact_sheets/01.26.10_haiti_factsheet_14.pdf. Accessed January 3, 2012.
19.United Nations Security Council. Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti –S / 2010 / 200. http://www.un.org/apps/news/docs.asp?Topic=Haiti&Type=Report. Accessed January 3, 2012.
20.Lynch, C. Top U.N. Aid Official Critiques Haiti Aid Efforts in Confidential Email. February 17, 2010. Turtle Bay, NY; Reports from Inside the United Nations. http://turtlebay.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/02/17/top_un _aid_official_critiques_haiti_aid_efforts_in_confidential_email. Accessed January 3, 2012.
21.United Nations. UN Mission Launches Coordination System for Haiti Aid. United Nations Radio. January 25, 2010.
22.Lieu, D Haiti Earthquake Fund Raising, One Year Later. Chronicle of Philanthropy. January 7, 2011. http://philanthropy.com/article/Haiti-Earthquake-Fund-Raising/125896/. Accessed January 3, 2012.
23.US Agency for InternationaI Development (USAID). Field Operations Guide for Disaster Assessment and Response: Version 4.0. September 2005. http://transition.usaid.gov/our_work/humanitarian_assistance/disaster_assistance/resources/pdf/fog_v4.pdf. Accessed January 3, 2012.
24.International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. IDRL in Haiti –A Study on the Legal Framework for the Facilitation and Regulation of International Disaster Response in Haiti. http://www.ifrc.org/PageFiles/93550/1213600-IDRL_Haiti-EN-LR%20final.pdf. Accessed June 12, 2012.
25.US Agency for InternationaI Development (USAID). Independent Review of the US Government Response to the Haiti Earthquake –Final Report. March 28, 2011. http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/pdacr222.pdf. Accessed on June 10, 2012.
26.US Department of State Civilian Response-Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization. http://www.civilianresponsecorps.gov/. Accessed January 3, 2012.
27.US Agency for InternationaI Development (USAID). Fact Sheet #40: Haiti—Earthquake. February 25, 2010. http://transition.usaid.gov/our_work/humanitarian_assistance/disaster_assistance/countries/haiti/template/fs_sr/fy2010/haiti_eq_fs40_02-25-2010.pdf. Accessed January 3, 2012.
28.Joint Center for Operational Analysis. US Joint Forces Command. Operation UNIFIED RESPONSE –Haiti Earthquake Response; May15, 2010. https://community.apan.org/cfs-file.ashx/__key/telligent-evolution-components-attachments/13-3653-00-00-00-05-84-23/Operation-United-Respose-JOCA-Report_5D00_.pdf. Accessed June 12, 2012.
29.US Department of Defense Role in Incident Response. US Army Combined Arms Center Handbook. November 2007. http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/CALL/docs/11-07/intro.asp. Accessed June 10, 2012.
30.US Department of Defense website. Southcom Completes Haiti Disaster Response. http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=59423. Accessed June 12, 2012.
31.Garamone, J Joint task force organizes Haitian airport. American Forces Press Service. January 2010. http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=57776. Accessed January 3, 2012.
32.OCHA. Ongoing Emergencies: Humanitarian Response –Haiti. http://haiti.humanitarianresponse.info/Default.aspx?tabid=164. Accessed January 3, 2012.
33.Bhattacharjee, ALossio, R Evaluation of OCHA Response to the Haiti Earthquake: Final Report. January 2011. http://ochanet.unocha.org/p/Documents/Evaluation%20of%20OCHA%20Response%20to%20the%20Haiti%20Earthquake.pdf. Accessed January 3, 2012.
34.World Food Programme. Six Months in Haiti: From Relief to Recovery. July 6, 2010. http://www.wfp.org/stories/six-months-haiti. Accessed January 3, 2012.
35.US Agency for InternationaI Development (USAID). Fact Sheet #39. Haiti-Earthquake. February 23, 2010. Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA), Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). http://www.usaid.gov/ht/docs/eqdocs/ofda_fact_sheets/02.23.10_haiti_factsheet_39.pdf. Accessed January 3, 2012.
36.US Agency for InternationaI Development (USAID). Haiti Relief and Recovery: Office of the Response Coordinator Weekly Slide Update. May 4, 2010.
37.US Agency for International Development (USAID). Fact Sheet #53: Haiti-Earthquake. May 7, 2010. http://reliefweb.int/report/haiti/haiti-earthquake-fact-sheet-53-fiscal-year-fy-2010%C2%A0%C2%A0.Accessed January 3, 2012.
38.US Agency for InternationaI Development (USAID). Haiti Relief and Recovery: Office of the Response Coordinator Weekly Slide Update: Phase II/III Analysis and Planning. June 2, 2010.
39.US Agency for InternationaI Development (USAID). Sector Updates: Shelter and Settlements Sector Updates for Haiti. June 2010. http://www.usaid.gov/ht/docs/eqdocs/de_clearinghouse_documents/ofda_shelter_sector_activities.pdf. Accessed January 3, 2012.
40.Pan American Health Organization. The Earthquake Health Response to the Earthquake in Haiti–One Year Later. January 2011. http://new.paho.org/disasters/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1475&Itemid=1. Accessed January 3, 2012.
41.Steets, JGruenwald, FBinder, A, et alCluster Approach Evaluation 2-Synthesis Report. April 2010. www.humanitarianinfo.org/iasc/downloaddoc.aspx?docID=5269. Accessed January 3, 2012.
42.US Department of Homeland Security. National Response Framework. January 2008. Federal Emergency Management Agency. http://www.fema.gov/national-response-framework.Accessed January 3, 2012.
43.Pan American Health Organization. Guidelines for Foreign Medical Teams After Disasters. http://new.paho.org/disasters/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1503&Itemid=1. Accessed January 3, 2012.

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed