Haiti earthquake: learning from the last disaster

David Sanderson

The major earthquake that struck Haiti on 14th August caused widespread damage and loss of life. At the time of writing, one week after the disaster, the death-toll is 2200 and rising. Over 50,000 homes have been completely destroyed, and close to 80,000 damaged. Some relief is arriving, but is slow in comparison to the need.

In 2010 Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake that may have killed upwards of 220,000 people. From the massive relief and recovery effort that followed, many lessons were learnt. One study, commissioned by the UK Disasters Emergency Committee (https://www.dec.org.uk/), a collaboration of the 14 largest international NGOs, sought to identify what worked best in the recovery, in particular in urban areas.

Ten lessons of what worked from the recovery are presented in the video below. These include focusing on neighbourhoods, planning for long term recovery (not just immediate relief) and supporting people for instance through cash grants. The last lesson is ‘get ready for the next disaster’.

Read the report.