CASE STUDY: Haiti vs. Chile quake comparison
Date and Magnitude: Date and Magnitude:
3:34 a.m., Sat. Feb. 27th. Tues. Jan. 12th.
8.8, epicentre 35km deep. 7.0 (with 52 aftershocks, all greater than
magnitude 4), epicentre 13km deep.
Location: (Fig.2) Location: (Fig.1)
Chile is an HIDC with the lowest birth rate in South Epicentre near the town of Léogâne,
America and a GDP per capita of almost $15,000. approximately 25 km west of Port-au-
World’s largest copper producer. Majority of industry Prince, Haiti's capital.
based in north of country. Haiti is a poor LEDC with little
Booming wine, fruit and forestry industries. Economic infrastructure.
growth of around 5% per annum before quake.
90% of pop. lives in urban areas.
Chile lies on Pacific Rim’s ‘ring of fire’ – NAZCA PLATE is On the ENRIQUILLO-PLANTAIN GARDEN
subducting beneath the SOUTH AMERICAN PLATE at fault zone (EDPZ) is a system of coaxial
80mm per year. Gives rise to the Andes Mountains. Plate left lateral-moving strike slip faults
boundary marked by a trench 100km offshore. which runs along the southern side of
Epicentre deep + far from population centres. the island of Hispaniola, where the
Dominican Republic and Haiti are
The quake occurred in the vicinity of the
northern boundary where the
CARIBBEAN PLATE shifts eastwards by
about 20mm per year in relation to the
NORTH AMERICAN plate. The strike-slip
fault system in the region has two
branches in Haiti, the Septentrional-
Orient fault in the north and the
Enriquillo-Plaintain Garden fault in the
south; both its location and focal
mechanism suggest that the January
2010 quake was caused by a rupture of
the Enriquillo-Plaintain Garden fault,
which had been locked for 250 years,
Quake-prone region, so preparedness high. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center
Quake awareness among public. issued a tsunami warning immediately
Building codes require shake-resistant construction and after the initial quake, but quickly
rapid emergency response systems. cancelled it
Country withstood the global economic recession very well
due to policy of saving profits from soaring copper prices.
$16bn still available, which new president Sebastián
Piñera can use to rebuild roads, bridges, ports and the
1.5m homes affected.
350 deaths in coastal town of Constitución. Confirmed Death toll: 230,000.
400 killed elsewhere. Injuries: 300,000.
500,000 houses made uninhabitable. All hospitals in the capital were
Estimated $15-30bn of damage – up to 15% of Chile’s GDP. destroyed as well as all air, sea and land
Looting in Concepción, Chile’s second biggest city and the transport facilities. Three ‘Medecins
one closest to the epicentre. Sans Frontiers’ medical facilities were
25 boats washed into Talcahuano by powerful waves damaged, with one completely
caused by the quake. destroyed. Petionville hospital also
Bridges + roads destroyed. Telecommunications + destroyed as well as St. Michel District
electricity down. Hospital in Jacmel (largest referral
Most of Chile’s copper mines, its biggest industry, were hospital in South-East Haiti).
unaffected – mines located in north. However, two mines Control tower at Toussaint L’Ouverture
which together account for 1/5th of Chile’s copper exports International Airport damaged.
were temporarily closed spike in global copper prices. Debris blocked roads including main
Challenges for presidential successor Sebastián Piñera, road between Port-au-Prince and
who will replace Michelle Bachelet on March 11th. Jacamel.
In the long run, it could be positive for the country’s Communications infrastructure
development because the rebuilding effort “will require destroyed – public telephones not
large investment and demand for capital goods and that available + country’s two main mobile
has a dynamising effect”. operators Digicel and Comcel Haiti,
reported loss of services. Most radio
stations also went off-air.
250,000 residences and 30,000
commercial buildings severely damaged
and need to be demolished.
Léogâne – 90% of town buildings
Palace of Justice, National Assembly, The
Supreme Court and Port-au-Prince
Cathedral either damaged or destroyed.
Education system “totally collapsed”
(Minister for education). Three main
universities effected, as well as nursing
school in the capital and country’s
primary midwifery school.
World Bank and UN offices destroyed.
Citibank building destroyed.
Short-term responses: Short-term responses:
Govt. vows to deliver aid quickly to worst-hit areas + President Préval and government
reassign budget funds to help rebuild. $16bn from windfall ministers used police headquarters near
profits of copper, the main export, could quickly unlock the Toussaint L'Ouverture International
budget funds. Airport as their new base of operations,
Firefighters comb rubble for survivors. although their effectiveness was
Army sending 10,000 troops. Curfew imposed to prevent extremely limited; several
looting. Fuel supplies rationed. parliamentarians were still trapped in
Communications in Santiago, the capital, were largely the Presidential Palace, and offices and
restored within 4 days. records had been destroyed.
President Bachelet’s govt. has been sluggish in its Appeals for humanitarian aid made.
response – quake on Saturday but state of emergency not Dominican Republic, first country to
declared until Sunday afternoon. give aid to Haiti. Dominican Republic
hospitals made available. Dominican
Institute of Telecommunications
(Indotel) helped with the restoration of
some telephone services. The Dominican
Red Cross coordinated early medical
relief in conjunction with the
International Red Cross.
International agencies also gave aid, and
provided medical support e.g. ICE-SAR
The International Charter on Space and
Major Disasters was activated, allowing
satellite imagery of affected regions to
be shared with rescue and aid
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
Haitians were granted Temporary
Protected Status in the U.S.
Several orphanages were destroyed in
the earthquake. After the process for
the adoption of 400 children by families
in the U.S. and the Netherlands was
The U.S. military took charge of the
national airport and certain private aid
agencies had issues landing and hence,
providing supplies. Acknowledged the
complaints concerning flight-operations
bias and promised improvement while
noting that up to 17th 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
Traffic congestion and blocked roads
hampered relief efforts.
Over the first weekend 130,000 food
packets and 70,000 water containers
were distributed to Haitians, as safe
landing areas and distribution centres
such as golf courses were secured.