Community-scale damage, disruption, and early recovery in the 2010 Haiti earthquake

TitleCommunity-scale damage, disruption, and early recovery in the 2010 Haiti earthquake
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsHill, A, Bevington, J, Davidson, R, Chang, SE, Eguchi, R, Adams, B, Brink, S, Panjwani, D, Mills, R, Pyatt, S, ,
JournalEarthquake Spectra

This study seeks to assess the levels of community-scale building damage and socioeconomic disruption following the January 2010 Haiti earthquake. Damage and disruption were analyzed for pre-event, post-event, and early recovery time periods in seven Haitian communities—three inside and four outside Port-au-Prince. Damage datasets from the Global Earth Observation-Catastrophe Assessment Network (GEO-CAN) postdisaster assessment were combined with analyses of fine-resolution satellite and aerial imagery to quantify building damage and recovery status, and were verified with field data. Disruption was assessed using community-level data obtained from interviews conducted in May 2010 with community leaders, NGOs, and government utility providers. The data pertain to 11 sectors, including shelter, livelihoods, and social networks. The findings document severe disruption and uneven restoration four months after the earthquake. Disruption showed little correlation with physical damage. Observations suggest that the impacts of the earthquake must be understood in the context of chronic disruption, and many consequences of the earthquake are merely deferred during recovery.