Responses to the Haiti earthquake?

Victim reactions to natural disasters vary widely, from calm stoicism or shock, to crying, wailing, and other displays of emotions. Many people panic, but as well, many people immediately become local rescuers, organizers, and leaders among groups of survivors.

The biggest difficulties with the Haiti earthquake were:
  • the size of the quake area
  • the economically poor
  • poor persons packed into a city
  • poor structural building design - not reinforced with steel
  • corrupt government officials before (and after) the quake
  • the overall lack of healthcare generally


The biggest problems immediately after the quake were:
  • Haiti officials had to invite or approve of outside countries to come to and into Haitian waters / land. This was delayed.
  • The distance to Haiti meant it took longer for outside countries to arrive to help.
  • The Haitian government did not take action to organize drop sites for rations and water, or for rescuers.
  • The quake affected the infrastructure: roads, bridges, gas lines, water lines - threats of gas leaks and fires; no clean water to drink.
  • Thousands dead or injured.
  • Thousands trapped under rubble, dying or dead.
  • No central place to take bodies. They made a mass gravesite, like a landfill.
  • No hospitals to take the wounded, so make-shift sites needed to be established. e.g. no disaster plan in place.
  • Everyday persons digging people out with their bare hands. No access to tools or equipment or heavy machinery. No search dogs.
  • Night soon approached; people feared returning to buildings because of continuing aftershocks; the wounded and non-wounded had to sleep in the streets. Citizens took over the lawn outside of the main government building.
  • No food. No water for days.
  • Heavy looting.
  • Emotional and psychological trauma.
  • Grief from losing loved ones of all ages.
  • Many people who might have been rescued could not be reached soon enough.


Haitians, desperate for food and water and for assistance, became angry. Anger is a typical "phase" after a disaster and during grief, but their anger was also very justified because they saw no help.

As nations started to arrive off-shore at Haiti:
  • Worldwide News organizations were already broadcasting from Haiti before outside rescuers arrived. They helped to show the dire need for help and services.
  • A USA medical military ship was one of the first outside countries to arrive with help.
  • The US deployed US Hawk helicopters to help save people and to make food and water drops. Troops were dropped off with aid ( helping people). At least 400,000 bottles of water and 300,00 food rations were given. However, government officials at first tried to confiscate these rations, saying they would pass it out, but they didn't do that immediately. People were dying from lack of water. It took pressure from outside countries and negotiation to get the supplies to the Haitian people.
  • However, people were still sleeping outside. They needed adequate protection, but buildings were unsafe. Haitians began setting up a "tent" city. Even there, some corrupt individuals and groups tried to either take or control the supplies. People were still dying.
  • The US medical ship treated thousands. Organizations like Doctors Without Borders sent physicians and nurses. One physician-reporter served as a doctor in a make-shift location set up as a "hospital".
  • Search and Recovery from outside nations began, with humans and dogs. It soon became a body recovery mission; no one was alive to be rescued.
  • People in tent cities continued suffering (which continued long, long after the quake).
  • Aid continued to flood into the country. Many people questioned how much the survivors actually received.
  • Over the months, tent city living declined. Families sleeping in open tents reported women and even young girls were being raped every night. No police to protect them. Others continued thefts or threats over material goods. Everyone continued suffering, especially children, the elderly, and the disabled.
  • Many people lost limbs because of the quake. US doctors fitted people with a prosthetic leg to help their mobility. Note that in a poor country like Haiti, many people were born with club foot--a disabling condition. Some people were helped either with surgeons flying to Haiti, or US sponsors bringing people to the US for surgery.
  • A huge problem was the number of orphan babies and children prior to the quake and more after the event. Parents in the US, wanting to help or desperate to adopt a child, surged to Haiti (or adoption lawyers went). There were no laws or regulations--many Haitian babies were adopted and taken out of Haiti. Haitian people were angered--their futures and heritage in these babies and young children were being taken from them. The government clamped down and stopped all further adoptions.



Within weeks:
  • The Haitians and Haitian government negatively viewed US Troops. Troops were withdrawn.
  • Haitians were incensed (angered) that their loved ones were unceremoniously dumped by bulldozers into a landfill-mass grave. No photos or fingerprints were done; no identification of bodies was done. The risk of disease was too great; weather was too hot to wait; and there was no refrigeration. The lack of identification made grieving much more difficult--there was no body over which to grieve. I believe they finally had a group Religious Service or Mass at the burial site.
  • The immediate needs of people were being supplied but how much aid actually got to the people was in question.
  • The immediate medical needs were met. Rehab for crutches and wheelchairs was ongoing.
  • People began clearing debris and re-establishing their cities. But, the devastation was so great that little looked completed even a year later.
  • Celebrities held a charity event to benefit the people, similar to the feed Africa campaign.
  • Celebrities held "Haiti Charity" single featuring, Alexandra Burke, Susan Boyle, Gary Barlow, Robbie Williams, Cheyl Cole, Mika, JLS, Joe Mceldery, Rod Stewart, Westlife, Michael Buble, Kylie, James Blunt, Miley Cryus, Jon Bon Jovi, James Morrison, etc.
  • Television pundits and broadcasters lamented on the poor organization of Haitian leaders to a catastrophic event. However, even in the USA, a natural disaster like what happened in in the California earthquake, the hurricane in New Orleans, the mudslide in Washington, can immediately overwhelm even a prosperous country. Disaster Plans need to account for high population, devastated medical and sanitary services, and simple needs like toilets.

did you mean what were the responses of the 2010 haiti earthquake?
well... the disaster recovery service in port-au-prince obviuosley tried to help, but it was hard as the earthquake affected them aswell. they are not invinsible guys!