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Earthquake in Haiti and Its Ramifications Essay

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Updated: Dec 14th, 2021

An earthquake is defined as a rapture that occurs on the earth’s crust, and it’s brought about by building up of stress in the crust through plate movements on fault lines (Yeats Sieh & Allen, 1997). The fracture comes about when the strain goes beyond the strength which the brittle lithospheric rock can hold. Earthquakes have numerous effects on society at large. The effects vary from social, political, physical, and psychological problems. Earthquakes occur briefly, but the aftershock continues for months while the damages caused last for years (Kellenberg & Mobarak 2008)

The worst earthquake in over 200 years struck Port-au-Prince near the Caribbean city of Haiti on the afternoon of 12th January 2010. The earthquake damaged structures, displaced millions, and killed thousands of people. Official estimates stated that 222,500 people died, 300,000 were severely injured, more than 1.2 million people were displaced, and 97,000 houses were totally destroyed while 188,000 were damaged.

Short-term effects of the earthquake

The short-term effects of the earthquake include food shortage, lack of clean water; breakdown of communication, lack of sufficient medical care, closure of ports and main roads, increased mortally, injuries, fires, the spread of communicable diseases, destruction of buildings, and shortage of petroleum goods (Skidmore & Toya, 2007).

Long term effects of earthquakes

Displacements

After the disaster, due to the destruction of homes, victims are forced to live in rescue camps. Overcrowding in these camps brings about the spread of communicable diseases, especially water-borne diseases which are communicable.

Poor medical care

Destruction of health facilities, including hospitals, dispensaries, and clinics, increases health problems due to the lack of laboratories for diagnosis and drugs. It’s very costly to rebuild hospitals and thus very poor medical care.

Destruction of schools closed down all schooling activities. Putting up new schools and equipping them is a long-term activity.

Social effects of earthquakes

There are many social problems brought about by people losing their relatives hence more widows, widowers, and orphans. The people affected by the disaster due to posttraumatic stress behave in strange ways; hence this affects the way they socialize. They become emotional, easily angered, and become antisocial.

Psychological effects of earthquakes

Earthquakes, unlike other natural disasters like floods and hurricanes, cause serious psychological stress since they occur with no warning ((Slemmons and dePolo 1986). This sudden occurrence gives no time for the victims to make psychological adjustments to enable them to cope up with the loss.

Disasters have a very bad effect on the increasing prevalence of psychological sicknesses (Bolt, 1992).

Depending on one’s age, the children are at the risk of experiencing extreme psychiatric reactions. The symptoms differ from the ages of the victims and may include:

  • Preschoolers: The children express some signs of psychological distress through; sucking of thumbs, clinging to their parents, wetting their beds, loss of their appetite, fear of being in dark places, regressive behavior, and withdrawals from friends (Bolt 1992).
  • Elementary school: They tend to be irritable, show a lot of aggressiveness, constant nightmares, absence from school, lack of concentration, clinginess, and withdrawal from their duties and friends.
  • Adolescents: Adolescents might show signs of agitation, lack of concentration, physical complaints, sleepless nights, poor eating habits, and being antisocial (Slemmons and dePolo 1986).

Political effects of earthquakes

The president and government officials were operating from police stations and tents. This disaster has affected the plans for the elections, which were to be conducted later this year.

The process of aid provision to areas affected by earthquakes is linked with politics. The government official needs to engage themselves in post-disaster activities in order to facilitate healing of their community members by coming up with motions to be discussed on parliament on disaster management and rural development.

The government officials should be in a position to site and make major amendments in town planning legislation and on the regulations on land zoning and the bye-laws for safe construction of masonry buildings to come up with better structures that can resist earthquakes hence increase structural safety.

The government should be in a position to come up with a state-level sensitization program on earthquake risk management.

They should also come up with a way of introducing inter-state sharing of resources for disaster management.

They should develop a school curriculum that must be learned by all elementary school levels on disaster preparedness and management as a school awareness and safety program.

They should also come up with guidelines for availing assistance to state-level training institutes to come up with faculties that train disaster management as a profession.

They should also come up with a national emergency plan to communicate through the media on disaster preparedness and response. And also communicate on designated state rescue centers.

Economic effects of earthquakes

Debt from other countries: This comes from borrowing money for rebuilding the damaged structures and improving technologies to come up with more earthquake-proof buildings (Slemmons & DePolo 1986).

Haiti’s economy before the disaster had been positively growing since the year 2005 through partnering, allowing free duty exports to the united states. Haiti having access to the United States market has created a good opportunity for stable growth in the economy. The earthquake dealt a devastating blow to an economy that was growing; the majority of the country’s population and structures were concentrated in the major towns, a factor that amplified the effects of the earthquake. According to Kellenberg & Mobarak (2008), natural disasters are strongly felt by the developing nations due to the concentration of people and economic places in a central place and due to poor response mechanisms.

The earthquake, on the other hand, is a serious setback to Haiti’s stable economic growth. It affected the tourism sector due to the destruction of tourist attraction sites and the destruction of major hotels.

Haiti being the 17th largest supplier of United States apparel goods as stated by the footwear association, this disaster caused an immediate impact on the countries economy.

Haiti is the largest trade partner with the USA exporting more than 75% of apparel and textiles, as was stated by Richard Hastings, working as a consumer strategist in Hunter securities an investment bank.

Effects of the Earthquake on the society

Experiencing an earthquake is a stressful experience with typical effects like fear, sadness, grief, helplessness, anger, and anxiety. The levels of the feelings vary from the degree of connection to the victims affected. Governments should put into consideration policies to ensure disaster mitigation measures are put in place to avoid the degree of impact in case of earthquakes.

References

Bolt, B. A. (1992). Earthquakes. New York, NY: W.H. Freeman & Company.

Kellenberg, D. K., & Mobarak, A. M. (2008). Does Rising Income Increase or Decrease Damage Risk from Natural Disasters? Journal of Urban Economics 63(3): 788–802.

Skidmore, M. & Toya, H. (2007). Economic Development and the Impacts of Natural Disasters. Economic Letters, 94; 20-25.

Slemmons, D.B. & DePolo, C.M. (1986). Evaluation of active faulting and associated hazards, in Studies in geophysics-active tectonics: Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Yeats, R. S., Sieh, K. E., & Allen, C. A. (1997). Geology of earthquakes. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

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