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2010 Haiti earthquake
Calais, Eric Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.
- Fault systems
- Hazard level
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
On January 12, 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the Port-au-Prince region of Haiti (see illus. a), killing more than 200,000 people, leaving more than 1.5 million homeless, and destroying most of the governmental, technical, and educational infrastructure throughout this region of 3 million people. The earthquake was also strongly felt in the Dominican Republic but caused no damage there because of the significant distance between major urban centers and the epicenter. The event caused an estimated $8 billion in damages, or about 120% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). No other earthquake of such moderate magnitude has ever caused so many causalities and such extensive damage. This was because the earthquake occurred in a heavily populated region of a very poor country with substandard building practices, and one that had not in any way prepared for such an eventuality. Only limited information on the seismic hazard was available before the event. Efforts were underway to enhance communication and knowledge about earthquakes, but awareness among the public as well as decision and policy makers remained low. As a result, mitigation and preparedness efforts were minimal, as the earthquake threat was not accounted for in construction, land-use planning, or emergency procedures, a situation unfortunately common among earthquake-prone developing countries.
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