Appeals & Response Plans
Maps & Infographics
The earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010 sparked a massive displacement crisis. At the peak of the crisis, there were over 1.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in 1,500 camps scattered across Port-au-Prince and the surrounding regions. Four years later, approximately 147,000 IDPs remain in 271 camps. These declines are dramatic, but it is difficult to determine the extent to which those uprooted have been able to access truly durable solutions to their displacement, and what should be done to support solutions for those who remain displaced.
Four years ago today, residents of Port-au-Prince, Haiti awoke to a city destroyed. The earthquake of January 12, 2010 killed as many as 220,000 people. 105,000 homes were destroyed and over 188,000 badly damaged, sparking a displacement crisis the country was particularly ill-equipped to handle. Even before the disaster, Haiti ranked 145 out of 169 countries on the UN’s Human Development Index, the lowest in the western hemisphere, and was facing a major housing shortage.
Presentation at the Transitions and Solutions Roundtable, organized by UNHCR and UNDP, Amsterdam, April 18-19, 2013.
This report, The Year of Recurring Disasters: A Review of Natural Disasters in 2012, examines four topics: disasters in 2012, with a focus on recurring disasters (Chapter 1); the role of regional organizations in disaster risk management (Chapter 2); wildfires (Chapter 3); and the important role of women in disaster risk management (Chapter 4). Here are some of the highlights from this year’s review:
by Elizabeth Ferris
Much has been written about Haiti since the massive earthquake devastated the country three years ago this week. Hundreds of evaluations and thousands of reports have been written by the humanitarian community and many more by other actors. I took a quick look at our own website and was surprised to find that in the last three years I have written 18 blogs, articles and op-eds on Haiti and our small project has organized 6 events to debate issues related to Haitian relief and recovery.
Haiti is often nicknamed the "republic of NGOs." Since the earthquake of 12 January 2010, the number of NGOs – mostly relief and development groups – working in Haiti exploded from 3,000 to an estimated 10,000. Touching down in Port-au-Prince on Friday, it struck me that Haiti, or at least its capital, could also be known as the republic of rebar. Across the cityscape, rebar protrudes from thousands of roofless buildings, attesting to the progress made since the earthquake that virtually flattened the city and killed 223,000, but also the work that remains to be done.
This Review analyzes some of the major events and trends related to natural disasters and humanitarian disaster response in 2011.
2011 was the most expensive year in terms of disaster losses in history, mostly because of a spate of disasters affecting developed countries. Globally, the ecnonomic cost of disasters in 2011 was $380 billion, of which $210 billion were the result of the earthquake and tsunmai in Japan. This was 72 percent higher than the losses in 2005, the second costliest year in history of disaster-related losses.
Population growth, urbanization and climate change expose increasing numbers of people to natural hazards in urban areas. From New Orleans in 2005 to Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 2010, recent urban disasters in developing and developed countries have drawn attention to challenges in post-disaster reconstruction of urban areas.
Elizabeth Ferris, Co-Director, Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement