Hazard Identification Tool: Earthquake Haiti - 12 Jan 2010

Originally published



The present hazard identification has been carried out based on publicly available information. An attempt has been made to identify locations of facilities and objects as precisely as possible. However, the list is not exhaustive or conclusive; other hazards may be present in the area and some of the identified locations may be obsolete. Furthermore, the estimated impact types should not be used as a basis for decision making on response measures, but further investigations should be made to verify the information provided in the HIT and to asses the actual impact.

- Objective

The objective of the Hazard Identification Tool (HIT) is to alert the United Nations Disaster Assessment (UNDAC) and other emergency responders as well as the UN Country Team to potential secondary risks after a natural disaster posed by large infrastructure and industrial facilities containing hazardous materials located in the affected area. This information can be shared with competent local and national authorities as appropriate. Any actual secondary risk should be addressed at the earliest possible stage.

- Methodology of the HIT

The methodology of the HIT is based on the Flash Environmental Assessment Tool (FEAT), a rapid assessment methodology to identify the most acute hazards to human health and the environment after natural disasters. The HIT is compiled based on research using publicly available information sources and provides a list of "big and obvious" facilities and objects that may pose a risk to human health and life, as well as the natural environment. The list includes indications of the substances that are expected to be present in these facilities, as well as the hazard types associated with these substances and related estimated impact types. Wherever the (expected) location of a facility could be identified, this information has been filled into the first column of the HIT. If the facility is expected to be present, but no location could be identified, this has been indicated. Whenever the location field has been left blank, it is not expected that these facilities are present in the country.

- Event

A powerful earthquake of 7.0 magnitude (USGS) on the Richter Scale affected Haiti on 12 January, at 16.53hrs local time (GMT 21.53hrs). The earthquake happened 17km south-west of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti (18.45N, 72.45W). There were two aftershocks - of 5.5 and 5.9 magnitude - that followed in the last hour. Initial reports suggest a high number of casualties and widespread damage, with an urgent need for Search and Rescue, however, there are no estimates available. Vulnerable construction and high population density are a concern. Media reported widespread power outages, little to no communication, the collapse of a hospital as well as the headquarters of the U.N peacekeeping mission. There is an unconfirmed report of damage to the presidential compound and national Parliament building. The airport is open and in use.

- The Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit

The Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit is the United Nations mechanism to mobilize and coordinate the international response to environmental emergencies caused by natural disaster, technological accidents and complex emergencies.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.