Port-au-Prince (Haiti)- 2010 Earthquake


Port-au-Prince (Haiti)- 2010 Earthquake


Social and economic vulnerability experienced in cities in the developing world has the capacity to exacerbate the impacts of disasters. Existing patterns of poverty and gendered, racial and economic vulnerability must be understood in the development of disaster resilient cities; however this is a complex and difficult process. This case study focuses on the city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in the Caribbean. The city has a population of around three million whose growth has occurred ahead of economic opportunities. Farmer (2011, p 55) describes the quality of building as “sloppy, makeshift and unregulated”. There is a history of earthquakes and geological activity in Haiti, with exceptional events occurring in 1751, 1770 and 1842 (Bellegarde-Smith, 2011).

A magnitude 7.0 earthquake occurred approximately 15km from Port-au-Prince on the 12th of January, 2010, causing major destruction and loss of life. An estimated 230,000 people died and 1.3 million were displaced (Bellegarde-Smith, 2011). Reconstruction has been slow, with many residents still living in temporary accommodation (Horton, 2012).



DRC Case study report


General instructions:
 Submit to LMS by 1 st November 2018, 11.59pm
 The mark for essay represents 60% of the subject total assessment
 Choose ONE of the five case study disaster events listed on the LMS “case
studies” tab
 Choose ONE of the four questions below and answer in relation to your
chosen case study.
 The word limit for the essay is 2000 words (+/- 10%)
 Please ensure your work is 1.5 or double spaced.
 Reference all data and sources correctly. Any common academic
referencing style (e.g. Harvard; APA; Chicago) is acceptable, but must be
followed persistently and correctly throughout the essay (including both
in-text citations and reference list)
 You may include images (e.g. photos, graphs) but must explicitly cite and
discuss them in the text.
 In your response, refer to at least three references from the ‘case study
tab’ for your selected case.
 In your response, refer to at least three additional refereed journal
articles on your case study disaster (which are not listed in the case study
tab). These can include readings from the tutorial readings list, or
readings cited in the lectures.
 In your response, you are encouraged to refer to at least one relevant
lecture this semester. You can cite the specific lecture simply by week, for
example “(Week 4 lecture)”.

1. Smith (2006) argued that ‘there is no such thing as a natural
disaster’. In your essay, discuss the theoretical foundations and
political implications of this claim. Critically evaluate Smith’s claim in
relation to your chosen case study disaster, weighing the relative
significance of its ‘natural’ and ‘human’ factors.
In your essay, refer to:
 Theories of vulnerability (including lecture materials and tutorial
 Smith, N. 2006. There’s No Such Thing as a Natural Disaster
Understanding Katrina, Social Science Research Council

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2. To what extent and in what respects has the city in your chosen case
study ‘bounced back’ or ‘bounced forward’ since the disaster?
In your essay:
 Discuss the concepts of ‘bouncing back’ and ‘bouncing forward’ in
relation to theories of resilience and their critique

3. Analyse the effects of urban infrastructure on exacerbating and/or
mitigating the disaster in your selected case study.
In your essay, refer to:
 Both risk reduction infrastructure and ordinary urban
infrastructures, both at a small and large scales.
 Infrastructural interdependencies and cascading effects
4. Analyse the significance of urban governance in shaping the
dynamics of the disaster in your selected case study.
In your essay:
 Critically evaluate the role of, and relations between, various
governance actors (of different types and at different scales), at
different stages of the disaster (preparation, response and