Action for students

A level Geography
Tectonic activity and hazards
PowerPoint presentation by
Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF)UK
Schools Team: Mary Doherty and Severa von Wentzel
March 2013
Geography Working Group
MSF would like to thank the members of the working group for
their contributions and help in developing these materials:
Janet Carlsson of Alleyn's School
Adam Thomas former MSF Logistician
Ed Jennings of Hayes School Bromley
John Lyon of the Geographical Association
Nicky Martin of Coloma Girls Convent School Croydon
Rick Vasconcellos of Acland Burghley School Camden
Jo Woolley of Dulwich College
This PowerPoint
• Tectonic Activity is presented as a PowerPoint
Presentation to facilitate use by teachers. The footer
on many slides includes Note for teachers.
• It is anticipated that teachers will use slide sorter and
select the slides appropriate to their students and their
specifications and develop a customised slideshow.
• For teaching and learning, view as a slide show to
benefit from animation
• When planning, teachers will find it helpful to start from
the normal view which shows the footers and the Note
for teachers.
• Teachers can click to videos, websites etc. directly
from the slides when in the slide show mode.
Guide to this
References to teaching specifications.
Definitions in violet
Action for students
Further info
Direct quote
Link to appendix
Back to contents Contents
Organisation of this
.Presentation structure
Teaching specifications
Your research and writing
Exemplar slides for your case studies
Section 1
Tectonic hazards and causes
Section 2
Tectonic hazards: physical impacts
Section 3
Tectonic hazards: human impacts
Section 4
Responses to tectonic hazards
Further info (Hyperlink)
Organisation and guide to this presentation
Awarding body specifications
Your research, case studies and writing
Exemplar slides for your research
Starting your case studies
PART II - Section One
Tectonic hazards and causes
Event, hazard or disaster?
Defining tectonic events and hazards
Seismic waves
Primary and secondary effects of earthquakes
Plate tectonics, GPS
PART II - Section Two
Tectonic Hazards: Physical impacts
Event Profiles
Tectonic impacts
Mind map exercise
Physical factors
Human factors
Fault action
Contents (cont’d)
PART II - Section Three
Tectonic hazards: human impacts
Geophysical and hydro-meteorological hazards and trends
Why do people live in tectonically active areas?
Dregg’s Disaster Model
Disaster Risk Equation
Specific hazard impacts: human and economic costs
Exemplar table for your research: hazard impacts over time
Haiti (2010) Earthquake
PART II - Section Four
Responses to tectonic hazards
Coping with tectonic hazard
Haiti housing crisis action
Insight into humanitarian work
The work of a MSF logistician
Cholera and GIS
Social Media
Disaster Risk Reduction
Early warning
International humanitarian System
Further Info on Haiti
AQA Unit 3: Seismicity
The causes and main characteristics of earthquakes:
• focus and epicentre; seismic waves and earthquake
• Tsunamis – characteristics and causes.
Two case studies of recent (ideally within the last 30 years)
seismic events should be undertaken from contrasting areas of
the world.
In each case, the following should be examined:
• the nature of the seismic hazard;
• the impact of the event;
• management of the hazard and responses to the event.
OCR A2 Geography:
Global issues
What are the hazards associated with earthquake and volcanic activity? Earthquakes and volcanic
eruptions are caused by plate tectonics and bring distinctive impacts to an area and these vary from place to
Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions have a range of environmental and social impacts on the areas
affected, which create a range of human responses to the hazard. The study of an earthquake and of a
volcanic eruption to illustrate the:
tectonic processes involved in creating these hazards;
scale and types of impacts (environmental, social and economic), together with the concept of primary
(initial impacts – destruction, casualties, landslides, fires) and secondary impacts (including disease,
infrastructure problems, resettlement);
human reaction in both the short term (emergency rescue) and long term (planning & management).
Why do the impacts on human activity of such hazards vary over time and location? The degree of impact
on an area reflects its level of economic and technological development as well as the population density.
Impacts can vary over time from immediate to long term. The study of contrasting examples to illustrate a:
contrast between countries at either end of the development continuum and between rural and urban
areas, to compare the impacts of, and reactions to, at least two contrasting types of earth hazards;
comparison of impacts over short and long time periods for at least two contrasting types of earth
OCR A2 Geography:
Global issues
How can hazards be managed to reduce their impacts?
There are various ways to manage or reduce the impacts of hazards. The study of different approaches to
managing earth hazards to illustrate:
the extent to which earth hazards are predictable;
the management strategies used to reduce the possible impact of a hazard;
the effectiveness of managing earth hazards.
Key Concepts:
The nature of hazards varies with location.
The nature of hazards changes over time and space.
Earth hazards consist of a variety of interdependent and interconnected activities and processes.
Physical geography and human activity are interdependent and their interaction can produce hazards.
The impact of such hazards varies over time and given location.
Populations and environments respond in a variety of ways to hazards.
The management of hazards results in opportunities and challenges.
Associated Skills:
Research into hazard events
Analysis of a variety of types of image
Map work at a variety of scales, eg hazard mapping
Statistical analysis, eg analysing patterns and severity of hazard
Use and application of GIS and other modern technology, eg forecasting of earthquakes and eruptions
.You will need to:
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the content, concepts
and processes.
Analyse, interpret and evaluate geographical information, issues and
viewpoints and apply understanding in unfamiliar contexts.
Select and use variety of methods, skills and techniques (including
the use of new technologies) to investigate questions and issues,
reach conclusions and communicate findings.
Your research and writing
Synoptic research
unit with case studies
• This unit provides flexibility in your study of
• You will learn subject content and develop your
learning skills, particularly, selection and analytical
• You will study this unit for several months.*
• This is a synoptic unit that stresses the interrelation
of specific issues to overall themes in geography.
Edexcel global
synoptic content
Your investigation of tectonic hazards, challenges and
responses will need to highlight:
• Places, people and power
• Risks, vulnerability and patterns.
Source: Dunn, Cameron and Kim Adams, “A2 Geography Advice for students” endorsed by
Edexcel, Phillip Allan Updates.
The synoptic element
of each enquiry question
Distil big concepts, implications and influences of tectonic activity
and geography by looking at social, economic, political and
environmental factors. These factors help organize and evaluate
information around people, places and power.
Social – about people, quality of life, health, education and prosperity
Economic – about money, work, industry, jobs and prospects
Political – about power, different viewpoints, policy and associated decisions
Environmental – about landscape, plants, animals, water, air and resources
Source: Dunn, Cameron and Kim Adams, “A2 Geography Advice for students” endorsed by Edexcel, Phillip Allan
Synoptic content and
To compare and contrast case studies from MEDCs and LEDCs (more and
less economically developed countries), do not merely juxtapose based on the
simplistic differences between MEDC and LEDC case studies to the exclusion of
other concepts. Use pairs such as:
Positive and negative
Primary and secondary
Direct and indirect
Short and long term
Human and physical
Micro and macro
Further info on more and less economically developed countries – contrasts
in economic and human development, development indicators, statistics and
correlations and indices:
Source: Dunn, Cameron and Kim Adams, “A2 Geography Advice for students” endorsed by Edexcel, Phillip Allan
Your research
Action for students:
1. Start an “Earthquakes” folder for your research and
case studies.
2. Throughout your study extract the key information
about the tectonic event and retain the findings
and maps in your folder. This will help you justify your
choice of case studies.
3. Remember to add references (sources) for the work
of others and to add definitions for key terms by
compiling a glossary of definitions in your folder.
Case studies in this
The Haiti Earthquake (2010) and Tohoku, Japan
Earthquake and Tsunami (2011) will be the main point
of comparison in your research.
Earthquakes such as Sichuan, China (2008),
L’Aquila, Italy (2009) and Van, Turkey (2011) also feature.
In this presentation exemplar slides in the introduction
and information for your research in subsequent sections
will guide you through the process, leaving the
active research and case studies to you.
Action for students:
Label the map to show Haiti,
Dominican Republic, major
towns and bodies of water
Action for students:
Label the map to show Japan, major towns, bodies of water and neighbouring countries.
Your study, research,
written notes and examination
Action for students:
Writing skills:
• Plan and stick to your organisation
with introduction, main body and
conclusion linking back to
the question.
• Apply theories, models and graphs,
for example, event profiles.
• Include good definitions and sources.
Further info:
The Geographical Association’s
“A2 Examinations: Developing your skills
in extended writing”
Do not describe only. Be clear what the
command words expect you to do:
Critically examine
You will need to include:
Role of plate margins
Causes, maps and case studies
Impacts on landscape
Impacts on people
Responses and issues
Get to know key words:
Dunn, C. and K. Adams’ “A2 Geography Advice
for students” endorsed by Edexcel, Phillip Allan Updates.
• Who is the author? How does the author’s role or job such as
academic, lobbyist, businessman, politician relate to the
topic? Consider North Korea and Amnesty International
presenting on the same issue, for example.
• Is it a primary or secondary source? How reliable is it?
• Does the website verify what it publishes or is it an open
forum where anything can be posted? Who owns and
contributes to it?
• Is the information up to date?
Question statistics
• Who collected the numbers? Using what method and for what
• Simply because they are published doesn’t make them facts.
Many are actually estimates.
• Location matters. Collecting statistics in remote rural areas of
developing countries or densely populated urban settlements, for
example, can be difficult if they have been collected at all. A
hazard or disaster event adds complexity.
• Numbers can be political. There may advantages to overstating
or understating numbers.
• Statistics need to be collected in the same way to be compared.
Schemata for
report writing
Your report
Introducing, defining topic
Research and methodology
Analysis, application, understanding
Conclusion and evaluation
Quality of written expression and sourcing
Médecins Sans Frontières works in and Relief Web and report on many
emergencies, including ignored or forgotten ones.
Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders:
MSF is an independent international medical humanitarian organisation that
provides emergency aid in more than 60 countries to people affected
by armed conflict, epidemics, natural or man-made disasters or
exclusion from healthcare.
“ReliefWeb is…source for timely, reliable and relevant humanitarian information
and analysis…to help you make sense of humanitarian
crises worldwide.”(
Humanitarian news website covering crises worldwide, including “hidden crises”
Exemplar slides for your research
Exemplar Slide on seismicity
past to present:
Historical seismicity in Japan
March 2011
Since 1900
The earthquake on March 11, 2011,
marked with a
, took place
around the same location as the
the magnitude 7.2 earthquake on March 9,
2011, thus the earlier one was
redefined as a foreshock. In the
cluster, there were 3 earthquakes
greater than magnitude 6 before the
main shock and another 14 in the
first 6 hours after. The aftershocks
intensity decreased with time since
the main shock and followed a
predictable pattern.
Further info on a detailed USGS poster on
“Seismicity of the Earth 1900—2007, Japan and Vicinity”
click on:
Earthquake Location:
Coordinates for Tohoku, Japan (2011)
130 km (80
miles) east of
Japan and
373 km (231
northeast of
Source: USGS
Exemplar Country Profile:
Japan (2011)
Country profile:
• Island nation in East Asia in the Pacific
• Third largest economy in the world
• Politically stable with world-class critical infrastructure: physical
assets that serve as foundation for effective governance*, economy
and civil society.
• Capital: Tokyo
• Population: 126.5 million (UN, 2011)
• Very high life expectancy at birth, one of the oldest populations in
the world (CIA World Factbook)
• Most structures built to resist earthquake shaking
Governance: security, civil service, public management, core
infrastructure, corruption and legal and regulatory reforms.
Exemplar Template:
Tohoku, Japan Earthquake and Tsunami (2011)
Date and time: Friday, 11 March 2011 at 5:46 UTC*
Location: Japan, near northeast coast of Honshu
Epicentre: 130km east of Sendai
Magnitude: 9.0 on Richter scale
Speed of Onset: Foreshocks
and rapid main shock, aftershocks
Duration: Short
Areal extent: Extremely large area
Map: USGS summary map on following slide
Plates: Pacific plate subducting under Eurasian plate.
Subduction zone very seismically active. Convergent
margin, fairly high convergence rate. Earthquake
shallow at the Japan trench.
Earthquake: 4th largest in the world since 1900 and
largest in Japan since recording began 130 years ago
History of Earthquakes: Japan trench
subduction zone has had 9 events 7+ on the
scale since 1973. 20% of world’s earthquakes
take place in Japan.
*Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) – primary time standard by
which the world regulates clocks and time, closely related
successors to Greenwich (GMT) mean time and for most purposes
synonymous with GMT. Unlike GMT, UTC is precisely scientifically
Risk profile: Country ranked
1st worldwide for human and
economic exposure to cyclones
and earthquakes, 1st (economic)
and 2nd (human) for tsunamis and
very high for drought, flood
and landslides (Prevention web)
Key points: Tsunami, Fujinuma
dam ruptured, Fukushima Daichii
nuclear accident.
Prevention web:
Annotated images:
Tohoku, Japan Earthquake and Tsunami (2011)
Burning oil refinery in Ichihara,
Chiba Prefecture.
New York Times
Some of the burning houses swallowed by
tsunami in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture in eastern
Los Angeles Times
Offset ocean floor
causes tsunami waves
Waves crashes over Natori,
Miyagi Prefecture.
Water and debris washed
away houses in Sendai,
Miyagi Prefecture.
New York Times
Starting your case studies
Starting your
Haiti case study
Action for students:
Using the websites on the following slides:
1. Develop a template similar to the Japanese exemplar
slides for your section on Haiti.
2. Haiti is situated near to two tectonic plates: record for
your research the names of the plates and explain
how these plates caused the earthquake.
3. Draw a sketch of Haiti’s location and the two plates.
Haiti’s country profile
and tectonics
CIA World Factbook
UNICEF Statistics
BBC Country Profile
“The Haiti Earthquake in Depth”
“Anatomy of a Caribbean Earthquake”
“Tectonics of the Haitian Earthquake”
BBC map:
summary posters
Action for students:
USGS Summary Poster
Print out the USGS summary
posters for Japan and Haiti for
your folder.
GS Earthquake map of Haiti:
You will find multiple panels:
epicentral area
plate tectonic environment,
earthquake history
generalized seismic hazard
Japan and Haiti:
Key data activity (1)
Action for students:
1. Based on the Japan exemplar slides and
your research, draw a table comparing
Japan and Haiti with key information
GDP per capita
Median population age
Population under the age of 15
High or low-income population
Population density
Urban population %
Maternal mortality rate
(deaths / 100,000 live births)
World ranking
Birth rate / 1,000 population
Death rate / 1,000 population
Availability of health care
Literacy, total population, %
2. Population pyramid: which age groups
contain the largest number of people in
Japan and Haiti? Does the population
age structure diagram resemble a
pyramid (A or B) or an inverted pyramid?
Japan and Haiti:
Key data activity(2)
2. In what stage do Japan and Haiti’s birth rate, death rate and availability of
health care place them on the demographic transition model?
Source: GCSE Bitesize population change and structure:
Tectonic activity, seismicity and
Section One
Tectonic hazards and causes
This section focuses briefly on the patterns
and processes of earthquakes and
volcanic hazards* and how they
are managed.
Section One
Tectonic hazards and causes
What are tectonic hazards and their causes?
Learning outcome
This section will guide you in identifying, examining and
understanding the:
• Range of tectonic hazards and their causes;
• Different profiles of tectonic hazards;
• Link between tectonic hazards and plate tectonics;
• Variation of tectonic hazards with the type of plate
Event, hazard
or disaster?
Action for students: Discuss what makes an event a hazard or disaster
based on information in the images only.
1 Water
2 Internal displacement:$file/nd-01-big.jpg
3 Haiti earthquake:
4 Guatemala’s Volcano of Fire:
5 Fault Rupture source:
Event, hazard
or disaster definitions
What is a natural event in an uninhabited place becomes a hazard in a
populated one.
A hazard is natural or human-made event that adversely affects human life,
property or activity. A hazard involves people.
“A disaster is an occurrence disrupting the normal conditions of
existence and causing a level of suffering that exceeds the capacity of
adjustment of the affected community.”(WHO/EHA 2002). There is no
universally agreed numerical threshold for designating a hazard as a
disaster. A matter of scale, a disaster is a lot bigger than a natural hazard.
Capacity: A combination of all the strengths and resources available within
a community, society or organization that can reduce the level of risk, or the
effects of a disaster.
Source: UN/ISDR, Words Into Action: A Guide for Implementing the Hyogo Framework, Switzerland, 2007
Source: WHO/EHA 2002, Disasters & Emergency definitions;
Perspectives on the Haiti
earthquake experience
Action for students:
View and interact with the video on the experience of the Haiti earthquake from the perspective
of a survivor, an aid worker and a journalist:
Based on the video make a mind map about why the Haiti earthquake lead to disaster. See
sample mind map for guidance.
What is a
tectonic event?
• A tectonic event is a physical occurrence resulting
from the movement or deformation of the Earth’s crust.
• Tectonic events are predominantly earthquakes or
volcanic eruptions.
• Tectonic events become tectonic hazards when they
have the potential to cause loss of life and damage to
• Not all tectonic events are hazardous.
Tectonic hazards
Tectonic activity cause a very large range of hazard events. These
are associated with the processes of earth movement and
volcanism, and they are classified into primary and secondary hazards.
Primary tectonic hazards include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions,
pyroclastic flow, ash fall and volcanic gases.
Secondary tectonic hazards include tsunamis, landslides and
lahars. A tsunami is a secondary hazard, because the flooding
is caused by the earthquake at sea. Tsunamis like the Asian
Tsunami (2004) are rare.
What is an earthquake
and tsunami?
Action for students:
Watch BBC News, “Animated Guide –
Earthquakes” and print out the PDF nonanimated version. Retain in your research folder,
as you will use it later:
Watch National Geographic,
“Earthquake 101”:
Review BBC GCSE Bitesize, “What
causes a Tsunami?”:
And Japan Tsunami footage with
Source: Edexcel Unit 4, Option 1,
Tectonic activity and hazards
Defining earthquakes
Earthquakes occur along fault lines and major plates lines.
The main shock in a cluster is the one with the largest magnitude.
Foreshocks occur before the main shock. Not all main shocks
have foreshocks.
The main shock is always followed by aftershocks, which are smaller than
the main shock and can continue for weeks, months or years.
Each earthquake can provide new information:
• If a subsequent event is larger than the one deemed a main shock, it can be
redefined as a foreshock, for example, Tohoku, Japan (2011).
• Similarly, an aftershock may sometimes be reclassified as a foreshock.
Tohoku Japan (2011): Foreshocks, Main Shock
and Aftershocks
Foreshock: 11.45
Magnitude: 7.3
Aftershock: 23.32
Magnitude: 7.2
Main Shock: 14.46
Magnitude: 8.4
Magnitude: 6.6
Aftershock: 15.08
Magnitude: 7.4
Aftershock: 14.07
Magnitude: 6.4
Aftershock: 15.15
Magnitude: 7.6
Aftershock: 15.25
Magnitude: 7.5
Aftershock: 09.57
Magnitude: 7.3
Foreshocks, Main
shocks and aftershocks sequence
• .
Tohoku, Japan (2011) Map:
11 March - magnitude 9.0 main shock off
Tohoku followed by 166 aftershocks of
magnitude 5.5 and greater until May 20.
Aftershocks follow a statistically
predictable manner. In common with
almost all of the largest earthquakes,
this one is on a subduction zone.
Warmer colour for more recent events
Larger symbol for greater quake
Action for students: Record in your
glossary what is meant by a
subduction zone . Explain why it
causes 5000 earthquakes a year in
Japan (one or more a day).
Source: USGS
Seismic waves
Action for students:
Correctly label the image:
Surface waves
Rayleigh wave
Love wave
Body waves
P waves
S waves
Elliptical motion
Answer the questions about Love, P, S and Surface waves:
Which type of seismic wave travels fastest?
Which type causes rock particles to move together and apart in the same direction?
In order to determine how far from a seismograph station an earthquake occurred, one needs to look at the difference
Seismic waves and elliptical motion
P & S waves
S & Love waves
P & love waves
Which one does not control the level of shaking:
Local Soils
Source: wave
Measuring shaking
Seismologists use a seismograph: an instrument that registers
the movement of the Earth's tectonic plates caused by seismic
waves and produces seismograms such as this USGS one:
A short wiggly line that doesn’t wiggle very much means a small earthquake, and a long wiggly line
A long wiggly line (seismic wave) that wiggles a lot
denotes a large earthquake; a short one that doesn’t
wiggle a lot a small one. The length of the wiggle
depends on the size of the fault and the size of the
wiggle by the amount of slip.
At least three seismographs are needed to triangulate
the location of an earthquake. Measurements are on the
logarithmic Richter scale from 1 – 10 with decimals.
Further info
On seismic monitors - Incorporated Research
Institution for Seismology (IRIS):
On seismicity maps - USGS:
On seismograms – USGS:
on seismographs and Richter scales:
125 Global Seismographic stations, multi-use facilities, spaced worldwide, collect
data for scientific research, earthquake hazard mitigation, tsunami warning,
education and the international monitoring system for the Comprehensive Nuclear
Test-Ban Treaty. Source: IRIS
World map of the
threat of earthquake shaking
Global Seismic Hazard Program
Dark red = large earthquakes most likely
USGS Shake maps
• .
Mercalli scale measures how much damage
is caused by earthquakes based on
Map of case study
countries and plate margins
Action for students:
Draw an arrow to Japan, China, Haiti, Turkey and Italy on the map below and add in the
plate margins.
Source: Worldatlas
Primary and secondary
effects of earthquakes
Earthquakes effects: primary and secondary
Primary effects
happen immediately and occur as a direct result of the ground shaking like buildings collapsing.
Ground shaking
Ground shaking is most direct effect with cracks in land and structures, falling masonry and / or
Secondary effects
occur as a result of the primary effects, for example, fires due to ruptured gas mains.
Ground displacement
may not be life threatening; however, it impacts on buildings, bridges and roads.
are movements of masses of rock or debris down a slope. Slope failure can be triggered by, for
example, earth tremors. Photo:
occurs when the shaking of silts, sands and gravels causes them to lose their load bearing
capacity. Buildings and other structures, may thus sink into the ground.
Liquefaction Hazard Map:
Liquefaction photo:
are ocean waves with extremely long wavelengths, generated by earthquake tremors.
Plate tectonics
How do earthquakes occur?
Action for students:
1. Use the pdf hard copy of the earthquake animation and
add in additional information from the following sources:
Animated version of the “Earth’s Tectonic Plates”,
Dr Iain Stewart explains how plate tectonics cause earthquakes:
British Geological Survey: and
US Geological Survey (USGS):
Discuss these additions with a partner and compare.
Critique your partner’s additions and ask them to critique yours.
In light of this critique amend your explanation and retain
the document for revision and exam preparation.
Tectonic plates
Action for students:
Find a map of the global distribution of tectonic plates identify
the convergent (destructive or collision), divergent and
transform (conservative or transcurrent) plate margins.
Write a description of each type of margin. Include an example
of each type of margin and also explain a collision plate
margin with an example.
Compare and contrast the typical tectonic hazards experienced
at one convergent and one divergent plate margin.
Research the two types of crust which make up the plates.
GPS: measuring
plate motion
Global Positioning system (GPS) is one of various
technologies used for studying earthquakes. Receivers placed
along fault lines measures movements of the Earth's crust with
a precision of one millimetre per year.
The length of the
indicates the extent of the movement.
This GPS Slip model of Tohoku,
Japan (2011) was produced with
vertical GPS data.
Source: UNAVCO 2000
Further info on GPS and plate motion calculators for your records:
Section Two
Tectonic hazards: physical impacts
This section introduces impacts and then
focuses on the physical impacts, such as
damage and destruction to homes
and infrastructure and change
to the landscape.
Port au Prince after the earthquake
Photo by Julie Remy/MSF
Section Two
Tectonic hazards: physical impacts
What impact does tectonic activity have on
landscapes and why does this impact vary?
Learning outcome
By the end of this section, you should be
aware of the effects of earthquakes on the
Haiti before and after
the earthquake
Juvenat: August 3, 2009
Further info on Haiti before 2010 in Appendix
Juvenat: February 13, 2010
Geological records
• Historic records of earthquakes can be
incomplete and some countries have longer
records than others.
• Where there are no written records of
earthquakes geological and soil maps can
be used to identify past earthquake activity.
• The geological record when understood can
enable areas of high risk to be mapped.
Event Profiles
Event profiles can be drawn for any event and help illustrate the great
variation in the nature of tectonic hazards. They are a common way
to compare and contrast different hazards. The typical earthquake
and volcanic profiles tend to differ most in terms of spatial predictability
and frequency.
This profile compares factors of
the Asian Tsunami (2004) with
the continuous eruption of
Kilauea on Hawaii since 1983.
Source: Edexcel Unit 4 Option 1 Tectonic Activity and Hazards
Event profiles
Action for students:
1. Refer to the Exemplar slide for
Japan, Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami (2011)
and construct one for Haiti Earthquake (2010). Keep in mind
factors of an event profile: magnitude, speed of onset, duration,
areal extent, spatial predictability and frequency.
Research and construct event profiles as presented on the
previous slide for the Haiti (2010) and Tohoku, Japan (2011).
Further info:
For a comprehensive presentation by a geophysicist on Haiti
and Japan earthquakes click:
Tectonic impacts
Tectonic hazards can be complex with
multiple effects and impacts. Impacts can
be physical, social or economic.
Impacts can be:
• Direct or indirect,
• Short or long-term,
• Tangible or intangible,
• Negative or positive.
Factors affecting an
earthquake: Mind map exercise
Action for students:
1. Draw a mind map of physical factors affecting an
2. Draw another for human factors.
3. Compare your mind map with that of a partner,do you
need to make amendments, do they need to make
4. Complete your map for your folder by referring to the
following slides.
Physical factors
affecting the impact of a tectonic event
Physical Factors:
• Distance from epicentre
• Richter Scale / Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI):
the higher on the scale, the more potentially devastating
• Duration of the hazard
• Scale of the hazard
• Frequency of the hazard
• Magnitude of the hazard
• Time of day
• Time of year and climate
• Geography of the area, accessibility
Human factors affecting
the impact of a tectonic event
Human factors:
• Social, political and economic conditions / level of development.
• Population density: rural or urban area
• Frequency and severity of hazards affecting the area
• Experience from previous hazards in the area
• Methods of coping with hazards
• Accuracy in predicting the hazards
• Effectiveness and response of hazard warning and evacuation
• Speed and efficiency of local, national and international emergency
response teams and long-term reconstruction and development
• Coordination and perception of the services
• Presence of other humanitarian crisis
Severity of impacts
The hazard and the capacity of people affected to prepare for and resist
it determine the extent of the damage. Damage to the environment
such as deforestation can make their impact worse. So the severity of
impacts depends on both:
• Physical factors (attributes of nature) such as the magnitude of the
• Human factors determining human vulnerability to natural hazards
such as population density.
Action for students:
Discuss whether the impacts on places, people and power of volcanic
hazards can be positive and negative, but for earthquakes only
Are impacts always
Some economists have argued that a natural disasters can be a
brutal, but good stimulus for an economy by:
• pushing short-term growth;
• Helping conflict resolution and community development;
• building up-to-date infrastructure and technology in place of
outdated ones (in with the new, out with the old); and
• focusing international attention and resources on the country.
Further info: article on “how disasters help”:
Fault activity
Action for students:
1. Label the faults as Dip slip, Strike-slip and Thrust. Mark with arrows to indicate
vertical or horizontal movement.
. 100
. 1
. 5.5
2. Study the graph. Do bigger faults lead to
smaller or bigger earthquakes?
Effects of earthquakes
on landscapes
Action for students:
Research faults and draw diagrams of dip slip faults (normal, reverse and
thrust), strike slip faults (left or right-lateral) and oblique slip faults. You can
refer to
Example diagram
Be clear about which faults are common at divergent plate margins and which
occur at convergent plate margins.
Explain how rift valleys form and give an example.
Remember: a clear, simple diagram is worth a thousand words.
Source: Edexcel Unit 4, Option 1, Tectonic activity and hazards
Hazard Trends
Why live in tectonically active areas?
Section Three
Tectonic hazards: human impacts
This section is organised around risks, vulnerability
and patterns of human impacts – social and economic.
• Social impacts refer to trauma and the disruption of
everyday life and communities.
• Economic impacts can be damage to factories and
commercial properties and disrupted transport
Together with physical impacts, they determine how
places, people and power are affected.
Section Three
Tectonic hazard: human impacts
What impacts do tectonic hazards have on people
and how do these impacts vary?
Learning outcome
By the end of this section, you should:
• Understand some of the reasons why people live in
tectonically active areas
• Know the range of hazards associated with different types of
tectonic activity*
• Be familiar with the specific impacts of a range of tectonic
• Be aware of trends in the frequency and impacts of tectonic
Hazard Trends
Geophysical and
hydro-meteorological graph activity
Action for students:
Look at the two graphs and mark
them as appropriate to show:
• Rising trend of hurricanes, typhoons,
tornadoes and such
• Fluctuating trend
• Rapidly rising trend of flood events
• Increasingly widespread drought
affecting millions of people
• Rare but devastating
• Fluctuating trend usually linked to other
Geophysical versus
meteorological hazards and trends
Geophysical hazard is formed by
tectonic/geological processes, for
example, earthquakes, volcanoes and
tsunamis. The number of geophysical
hazards has stayed fairly constant.
Hydro-meteorological hazard is
formed by hydrological (floods) and
atmospheric (storms and droughts)
processes. They make up most of the
natural hazard events and have
increased in number.
Source: WHO/EHA 2002, Disasters & Emergency definitions;
USGS Earthquake statistics and Earthquakes and seismicity
Natural hazard trends
Whilst better awareness, preparedness and technology has reduced the
number of deaths due to natural hazards, the number and frequency of
natural hazards and the number of affected people has gone up.
Whilst our capacity to deal with natural hazards and disasters has
increased, socio-demographic, economic and technological factors has
increased vulnerability further.
The destructiveness of earthquakes has increased, because populations
keep rising and more and more people have moved into earthquake risk
zones - especially where earthquakes have been infrequent but violent.
Buildings and infrastructure are increasingly expensive and vulnerable, and
many people live in housing not been built to withstand earthquakes.
As opposed to other natural disasters, earthquakes occur without warning
and even moderate ones tend to affect a widespread area.
Disaster hotspots
The impact of natural hazards differs
between and within countries
and regions and countries. Asia
is the most affected by
natural hazards the
Philippines, Japan, India,
Bangladesh, China, Indonesia
most hazard-prone.
Identifying a hot spot can have
major implications for development
and investment planning,
A hazard hotspot is an area of
disaster preparedness and
multiple hazard zones. In large, rapidly
loss prevention. Yet, long lists of
growing urban areas in hazard prone areas,
the potential for hazards to turn into disasters priorities can be more immediate than
risk management.
is great.
Source: White, Philip, et al, Disaster risk reduction:
a development concern, (DFID, 2004) 3.
Are Haiti and Japan
disaster hotspots?
Action for students:
Using the disaster websites such as:
• Prevention web for risk profile and disaster statistics:
• Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, CRED
(, for frequency, economic and human impact by disaster
type and region:
List recent natural disasters for Japan and Haiti and discuss each countries
capacity to deal with them. Consider location, tectonics, hurricane tracks, typhoons,
tsunamis, population, economic development and the natural and built environment.
Compare risk rankings for Japan and Haiti.
Compare economic and human losses by disaster for Japan and Haiti. Try to
explain why 2011 was the costliest year ever for natural disasters with Tohoku,
Japan (2011) accounting for 55% of the total US$380 billion economic losses.
Why live in tectonically active areas?
Why do people live
in tectonically active areas?
Action for students:
Reflect on your own the reasons why people live in tectonically active
areas, jot down your ideas.
Give examples, why do people continue to live in California, Japan or
Consider: level of economic development, awareness of risks, risks versus
benefits, past history of tectonic activity (magnitude, frequency, impact and
Discuss with a partner their reasons and yours.
Join with another pair, discuss and record all the ideas why people live in
tectonically active areas.
Why risk living in
a hazardous area?
There are far more people living
in potentially hazardous area
than you might expect.
Choice e.g.
opportunities like
tourism, farming,
geothermal power
Ignorance of the
risks and / or
underestimation of
Living in
areas of
Inertia; always
lived there, roots
Nowhere else to go /
lack of alternatives
Source: Edexcel Unit 4, Option 1 Tectonic Activity and Hazards
Many people may not have experienced earthquakes
Blue and mauve and yellow dotted lines show Haiti’s last earthquakes 57 and 64 years
before the 2010 one. Risk is a probability: without living memory, people may
underestimate the risk and consider preparing and planning less a priority.
Dregg Disaster Model
Dregg’s model (Earthquakes Venn
Diagram) shows the overlap of natural
hazard and human vulnerability.
The greater the scale of a earth
process or event and the more
vulnerable and exposed the people,
the greater the scale of the natural
hazards or disaster.
“Disasters do not just happen – they result
from failures of development which
increase vulnerability to hazard events.”
e.g., rapid urban growth leading to
increased exposure to landslides,
earthquakes or fire.” (White, Philip et al 2004, 3)
Risk = Vulnerability x Hazard
Source: Edexcel Unit 4, Option 1- tectonic activity and hazards.
White, Philip, et al, Disaster risk reduction: a development concern,
DFID, 2004, 3.
Digby et al, Geography for Edexcel, Oxford University Press.
World Risk Index
Action for students:
Looking at the Dregg’s diagram and the world risk index, what
places Haiti and Japan at risk?
The world risk index
launched by the UN
Institute in Bonn helps
define the interaction
between natural hazard
and vulnerability.
Disaster Risk
People can be affected by natural disasters anywhere.
However, the risk of disaster grows as global hazards
and people’s vulnerability increases, while their capacity to
cope decreases. The Disaster Risk Formula measures
hazard vulnerability:
Factors that decrease risk include:
• Effective warning and preparedness,
• Better planning and building practices,
• Development and insurance.
Source: FAO,
• describes how susceptible a population or parts of a population are to the
damage of hazards, notably “the characteristics of a person or group
and their situation that influence their capacity to anticipate, cope
with, resist and recover from the impact of a natural hazard.”(Wisner,
Ben et al 2005, 11)
• is determined by processes in the natural environment and by places,
people and power.
• tends to increase the lower the country’s economic development and sociopolitical stability because risks and vulnerability make the impact of
natural hazards patterns worse.
The Guatemala earthquake 1976 made headlines as a ‘class-quake’, as
it predominately affected the poor, excluded and vulnerable in slums
while the urban middle and upper classes remained relatively unaffected.
Source: Wisner, Ben, et al, At Risk: Natural hazards, peoples vulnerability and disasters, 2nd ed, (Abingdon: Routledge, 2005) 11.
Vulnerability and
economic development
In less developed countries:
A greater proportion of the population tends to be exposed to risk given population
growth, land pressure and urbanisation. Moreover, the poorest tend to be
disproportionately affected, often because they have migrated to hazard zones to
search for work and may live in sub-standard and cramped conditions that collapse
and crush them, the biggest cause of death.
The financial resources, technical capacity, level of education and ability to cope
with hazardous events also tend to be lower.
The economies also tend to be driven by growth and tend to be less resilient in
dealing with the disruption of the event.
There are also more likely to be other humanitarian crises as well as other issues
like weak governance and infrastructure.
Impact and
Economic Development
The graph illustrates how the Kobe Earthquake (1995) was a huge economic disaster,
while the Boxing Day Tsunami (2004) lead to far more deaths (like the Haiti 2010 earthquake).
Natural Disaster Cost by Year
World Bank (2006). Hazards of Nature, Risks to Development. An IEG Evaluation of World, Bank Assistance for Natural Disasters.
The World Bank, Washington, D.C.
Humanitarian Response to Natural Disasters: A synthesis of – Norad
Graph by Robert Simmon, based on data courtesy EM-DAT: The OFDA/CRED International Disaster Database ( Université Catholique
de Louvain—Brussels, Belgium
Specific hazard
impacts: Human costs
The costs of tectonic hazards can be classified broadly as human or economic.
Human costs include primary, secondary and tertiary casualties. Over half of
disaster deaths occur in LEDCs even though only 11% of people exposed to
hazards live there.
Primary casualties: People killed or injured by an earthquake or volcano.
Casualties tend to be much higher in less developed countries because of:
• Limited preparedness,
• Less effective warning systems,
• Less effective search and rescue services.
Secondary casualties: People who survive initially but are injured or die because
of insufficient resources and lack of emergency medical care especially in
less developed countries
Tertiary casualties: People with pre-existing medical conditions aggravated by
the hazard event. This includes people who become ill, or die as a result of the
post-disaster environment.
Specific hazard
impacts: Economic costs
There are two types of economic costs:
• Direct costs: the immediate costs of repairing
damage caused by the event. In the case of
earthquakes this will often include demolishing
buildings fractured by the shock waves and rebuilding
from scratch.
• Indirect costs: loss of earnings caused by disruption
to working life. Increasingly, major natural hazards are
causing secondary technological and industrial
accidents and emergencies for example, the
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan.
Exemplar table for your
research: hazard impacts over time
Action for students: Draw a table to organise and capture your research for
each case study using the prompts in the table.
Short term
Notable examples of natural and humanbuilt landscape destroyed. Fires due to
gas pipe explosions and electrical
damage? Landslides and flooding?
Numbers of killed and
injured, noting those in
essential service
professionals like doctors
and policemen injured. Lack
of food and health supplies?
Damage or loss of homes,
transport, communications,
health care facilities, energy
and water supply systems?
Note tangible losses due to the direct impact
of property damage like destruction to shops
and trade damaged or disrupted. Also,
indirect losses resulting from social economic
disruption, trade impacted by loss of
communication, transport and water and
energy supply infrastructure. Looting?
Long term
Intangible losses like the destruction of
important natural and human landmarks
and fertile lands.
Put here public health
problems like disease (e.g.,
cholera due to contaminated
water and lack of hygiene).
Numbers of homeless and
displaced people needing
shelter and rehousing.
Information on indirect
impacts like stress and
psychological damage.
Are settlements and shops being rebuilt and,
if so, to higher standards? Settlements
moved? People rehoused? Is there any
positive impact in the form of aid,
reconstruction and grants?
Haiti research
Immediately after the
Haiti Earthquake (2010)
Action for students:
Based on the videos and website below extract relevant
earthquake facts and record your findings using your table of
physical, economic and social impacts. Include a
short description of the scene in Port au Prince
immediately after the earthquake.
MSF audio slideshow / eyewitness account:
Disasters Emergency Committee:
Three days after
in Haiti
Action for students:
It has been three days since the earthquake. Place what needs to be done in order
of urgency:
Adapted from:
The first seven days
in Haiti
Action for students:
Use the resources listed here to write a brief report on the
impact on people and places in the first 7 days after the region’s
worst earthquake in 200 years.
CBS news:
Earthquake Timeline:
Haiti soon after the quake:
Surgeon report:
Why did so many
people die in the Haiti earthquake?
Action for students:
Click on the link and read the news report of Lucy Rodgers
of BBC News:
Use the news report, maps and your own research to write
a Report (no more than 1000 words) to account for why the
Haiti earthquake had so much greater human cost than the
earthquake in Sichuan, China (2008) and in L’Aquila, Italy
(2009) which were similar in magnitude.
When planning your Report, make sure you review the
Report writing schema .
Haiti a ‘class quake’?
Action for students:
Review your research on the Haiti Earthquake and also the
Japan Earthquake and tsunami and extract information and
data from your research to write an extended report with the
following title:
The Haiti Earthquake (2010) could be viewed as a ‘class
quake’. Compare and contrast the Haiti earthquake with the
Tohoku, Japan Earthquake and Tsunami (2011) and
reach your own conclusions about whether you believe Haiti
was a ‘class quake.’
The websites on the humanitarian response on the previous
slides can help illustrate the human impact.
Earthquake prediction
Action for students:
1. Research from the list below possible indicators of imminent earthquake activity and the
reliability of these indicators in predicting earthquakes.
2. Divide the research amongst fellow students and share your research with a written note for each
student on the reliability of these indicators in predicting earthquakes:
Indicators of imminent earthquakes
P and S wave ratio
Water levels in wells
Radon levels in well
Levels of manganese, zinc and copper in basaltic rocks
Changes in the electrical properties of rocks
Ground deformation
Unusual animal behaviour
Monitoring how fast strain accumulates
Monitoring with satellites electrical charges
Is it possible to predict the time, place and magnitude of future earthquakes in a precise, timely
and reliable way? Is there a method that is successful beyond chance, statistically more than a
lucky guess?
Action for students:
Watch the BBC video on predicting earthquakes
on the North Anatolian Fault in Van, Turkey (2011).
(04.49 mins). Watch it at least twice and make
notes for your research guided by the prompts below
Consider the prompts:
• Why is it easier for scientists to
calculate where the next earthquake
could have happened on this fault?
• What factors did the scientists use for their
prediction model?
• What was the response of the people to the
scientists prediction?
• When did the earthquake happen?
• What was the magnitude and how long did it last ?
• What was the impact of the earthquake-how
many people were killed and how destructive was
the earthquake on the city.
Source: IRIS
L’Aquila, Italy (2009)
Jail for members
of the Great Risks Commission
Case Study: L'Aquila, Italy (2009)
Earthquake of magnitude 6.3 hit the Abruzzi town of L'Aquila on 6 April
2009 following a series of swarms (small, but numerous tremors on a
daily basis) during the preceding 2 months.
In a public meeting 6 days prior to the main shock, members of Italy's
Great Risks Commission downplayed the likelihood of a major quake and
did not reiterate what risks people faced if one did occur.
This was in response to an amateur seismologist, Giampaolo Giuliani, who
was predicting a major quake based on radon readings on his home made
radon monitoring devices.
On 22 October 2012, 6 scientists and one ex-government official (all
members of the great risks commission who attended the meeting) were
found guilty of manslaughter by an Italian judge, as they played down the
risks of a major shock. They were sentenced to 6 years in prison.
Pitfalls to Prediction
and Communication of Risks
Reasons for authorities and people not to act on disaster warnings:
Uncertainty in scientific information / difficulty in predicting earthquakes
Unease with scientific jargon (communicate in less academic fashion)
Lacking emergency response infrastructure ,for example, national and international
channels between scientists, authorities, agencies and communities and linked
Competing risks/priorities (need to assess likely post-earthquake behaviour to target
Too many false alarms (need to use local hazard indicators, such as, animal
behaviour and work with media).
Why were the
experts jailed?
Action for students:
1. Using research from previous slides and taking into
account the difficulty of predicting earthquakes, why have
these experts been jailed? The media suggests it is
because they did not accurately predict the 6 April major
shock. Evidence suggests, however, that they misled the
public as to the risks of such a quake occurring and that
the public then acted as though the risk was small.
2. What are the implications for predicting major natural
disasters in the future, not just earthquakes?
Strategies for coping
Insight into humanitarian work
Cholera and GIS in Haiti
Social Media
Disaster Risk Reduction
Section Four
Responses to tectonic hazards
This section focuses on coping with
tectonic hazards. Different community capacity
can define the approach - the extent to which
a country can implement:
• Relief
• Rehabilitation
• Reconstruction, mitigation and
Section Four
Responses to tectonic hazards
How do people cope with tectonic hazards
and what are the issues for the future?
Learning outcomes:
• Understand how people and governments
cope with tectonic hazards.*
• Be familiar with specific ways of adjusting to
tectonic hazards.*
• Be aware of the different approaches to the
challenges of tectonic hazards.*
Strategies for coping
Coping with
tectonic hazards
Essentially there are three options:
• Do nothing
• Adjust
• Leave
The choice of option depends on a number of factors
including the nature of the hazard, its frequency, its
magnitude, population pressure in the location and
the level of economic development.
Strategies for coping
Strategies used to adjust to hazard threat focus on:
• Modifying the loss
• Modifying the event
• Modifying human vulnerability
Capacity for coping derives from being able to
access information, authority, institutions,
partnerships and plans, resources and procedures to
deal with the hazard.
Source: WHO/EHA 2002, Disasters & Emergency definitions
The Park Model
The model sketches the phases following the tectonic hazard event:
The relief phase
The immediate response, focus is on saving lives and property. Teams, such as MSF,
from outside the immediate area help with search, rescue and care operations. Urgent
medical supplies, rescue equipment, clothing and food may be brought in.
Rehabilitation phase
More complex than relief, this may last for several months, efforts are made to restore
physical and community structures, at least temporarily.
Reconstruction, mitigation and preparedness
Permanent changes are introduced to restore the quality of life and economic stability
to the pre-disaster level or better. This can also include mitigation and preparedness –
reducing vulnerability.
Park hazard
response model
PRO: Useful to compare different events, curves of
which can be drawn and compared on the same graph.
CON: Model is general, does not account for different levels of
development and other issues affecting disruption and recovery.
Source: Bob Digby, “A2 examinations: Developing your skills in extended writing”,
Relief phase
Relief defines “the set of activities implemented after the impact of
a disaster in order to assess the needs reduce the suffering limit
the spread and the consequences of the disaster open the
way to rehabilitation”
Resilience how able a community is to adapt and to recover.
Emergency defines a state in which normal procedures
are suspended and extra-ordinary measures are taken in order
to avert or deal with a disaster
Further info on immediate relief activities:
Source: WHO/EHA 2002, Disasters & Emergency definitions;
Rehabilitation and
Rehabilitation and reconstruction actions include:
• repair and reconstruction of lifelines and building;
• measures to turn around post-earthquake economic
• and financial assistance after losses.
The recovery period is also a good time to adopt new
mitigation measures such as a more earthquakeresistant built environment (Mileti, 1999).
Meliti, D. 1999. Disasters by Design: A Reassessment of Natural Hazards in the United States. Joseph Henry Press.
Important lifelines
Earthquakes affect above- and
below- ground lifelines. Buried
utilities and communication
systems are more likely to be
damaged as a result of
earthquakes than natural hazards
Transportation facilities have an
especially large impact on the
response and recovery efforts,
because it usually takes much
longer to repair them than other
lifelines Chang, 2000).
Chang, S. 2000. “Transportation Performance, Disaster Vulnerability,
and Long-Term Effects of Earthquakes.” Second Euro Conference on
Global Change and Catastrophe Risk Management. Luxemburg,
Austria, July 6-9, 2000. Available from:
Visual 11.2 – Graph illustrating time required for repair of
lifelines following the 1995
Kobe, Japan Earthquake. Visual from Chang (2000).
Haiti: ongoing crisis
Action for students: Place the appropriate number in the blank spaces
Four times; 12; 26; 1,500; 10,000; 358,000,
1 million, 1.5 million, 10 million
15,000; 200,000; 369,000; 1 million;
Over ______were re-housed. ______ of the _______
homes destroyed or damaged were rebuilt.
Interim Haitian Reconstruction
Commission with _____members, ____ of
which were Haitian, was set up to endow
government with direct decision-making power
and to improve coordination, but was
marginalised early on by partisan politics.
About ______ NGOs ( ) were active in Haiti
after the 2010 earthquake for a population of
Three years on over ______Haitians still need
assistance. (UN)
The amount of aid was about ______the
country’s internal revenue as of October
Source: Brookings, Data as of October 2012,
Another ______ remain displaced in tent cities and in
sidewalk shanties made with tarpaulins. Those most
affected by the earthquake tended to be the most
Data as of October 2012
Source: Brookings
Further info
Click on the relief web bulletin on resettlement
of IDPs and the guardian video:
Insight into humanitarian work
in Japan
© Giulio Di Sturco/ VII mentor
MSF staff treat a patient in an evacuation centre
in Minami Sanriku, Japan. March 2011
A consultation at an evacuation centre for
earthquake survivors in Minami Sanriku. MSF
gave treatment of chronic diseases for people
who had their treatment interrupted by the
devastating quake and tsunami.
Psychosocial support
in Japan
Psychological assistance was an
area in which MSF could offer
increased support.
“People can have intrusive memories of
the event, flashbacks, nightmares.
People can withdraw and not want to
communicate. Some people will not be
able to sleep, to eat, and all of these
things can make them very different
than they used to be and can cause
significant suffering,” Ha Young, MSF
MSF psychologists in a MSF cafe space
near Bayside Arena, Minami Sanriku,
Miyagi prefecture.
Photo by Eddy McCall/MSF
Haiti 2010:
MSF’s response
MSF emergency response in Haiti was its largest in its 40-year history.
Thousands of Haitians, most of whom were directly affected by the
disaster, mobilised along with 3,400 staff to help MSF provide assistance
in hospitals and four mobile clinics.
MSF’s humanitarian action is based purely on need, independent of
any religious or political agenda. Predominately MSF is focused on
medical assistance, a subset of humanitarian assistance, but it also performs
non-medical activities like providing tents, safe water or latrines.
Further info:
September 2012 Humanitarian Snapshot
medical care in Haiti
Wounded people congregate in MSF
Photos by July Remy / MSF
MSF tents provide shelter
By the end of June 2010, MSF had distributed more than
28,640 tents, approximately 2,800 rolls of plastic
sheeting, and close to 85,000 relief supply kits (made up
of items such as cooking utensils, hygiene products and
blankets) to people living near the epicentre of the
MSF staff operate on a patient with broken legs at a
makeshift surgery outside Carrefour hospital, Port-au-Prince.
Photos by Julie Remy
From 12th January to 31st October, medical teams
treated more than 358,000 people and performed
more than 16,500 surgeries.
MSF surgeons performed more than 5,700 major
surgical procedures during the first three months,
150 of which involved amputations.
An operating theatre in a container at Trinite Hospital, Haiti.
Photo by Benoit Finck/MSF
An operating theatre in a container at Trinite Hospital, Haiti. An inflatable tent
hospital also replaced the destroyed La Trinité hospital and provided emergency
medical care and more specialised trauma and orthopaedic surgical care.
The work of a
MSF logistician in Haiti
Action for students:
Visit the MSF UK website: Click on Working with us/working
overseas/ who do we need?/ logistician to learn about the
work of a MSF logistician and to view the video about the work
of a logistician. (6.50 mins)
In pairs, read the logistician’s blog (in Appendix) about his
work in Haiti prior to the earthquake, when the earthquake
occurred and afterwards.
Read and critique the reports each of you wrote previously on
the first seven days and discuss if you need to amend your
reports in light of the blog of the logistician.
Outbreaks of cholera in
Haiti: Long-term social problems
Cholera and GIS in Haiti
Source: Dupuis, Ludovic, “Field-friendly spatial analysis tool to aid
MSF cholera response in Haiti”
Cholera, water and sanitation
• Clean water and sanitation facilities are vital in any
emergency situation, as without them diseases spread
• Cholera is a bacterial infection caused by drinking
water or eating food contaminated with vibrio
cholerae bacteria.
• Some of the symptoms, diarrhoea and
Vomiting, can lead to dehydration or worse.
• Affects between 3 to 5 million people and
causes between 100,000 and 130,000 deaths
a year.
• Cholera is treatable in many situations.
Photo by Scott Eisen
Further info:
On cholera
A patient rests in the tent for the most severe
cholera cases.
Inside a cholera
treatment centre (CTC)
Action for students: What’s inside a CTC?
Interact with this resource.
Cholera outbreaks
and riots in Haiti
October 2012: the first documented cholera case since 1960.
From October 2010 to 31 December 2012, the total number of cholera cases reached 635,980, of
which 350,679 (55%) were hospitalized and 7,912 died.
Since November 2011, the global case-fatality rate was 1.2% with significant variations across
UN blamed for outbreak, riots erupt and Haiti demand for compensation rejected.
BBC on UN peacekeepers,;
Guardian on UN rejecting compensation:
On 10-year plan
cholera response
MSF response
• In 2010 alone, MSF treated more than 91,000 of the 171,300 people (25% of total)
reported as having cholera in Haiti nationwide in 73 CTCs.
• Among those coming for treatment are some of the most vulnerable populations, including
pregnant women.
• MSF uses preventative anti-cholera kits to prevent further spread with items such as
rubber gloves, buckets, disinfectants, plastic cups, spoons, soap and water purification
• MSF cholera treatment kits include oral rehydration.
The staff at these clinics include epidemiologists and water and sanitation experts,
who make sure there is safe, clean drinking water and build latrines
Cholera Kit
Photo MSF / Lachant
Geographic Information
Systems and cholera response
Geographical information systems (GIS) are “organized collections
of hardware, software, geographic data, and personnel data designed
to efficiently capture, store, update, manipulate, analyze, and display all
forms of geographically referenced information.”(Fema)
GIS support:
• timely and better decision-making and communication.
• Cost saving and higher efficiency.
• Better record-keeping.
• With seismic models they can forecast and graphically display (e.g.,
digitized colour maps) damages for earthquake scenarios.
• With early-warning systems they can provide an almost real-time graphical
display of a region’s shaking effects.
CASE. In epidemiology, a countable instance in the
population or study group of a particular disease, health
disorder, or condition under investigation. Sometimes, as
here, an individual with the particular disease.
CASE-FATALITY RATE. The proportion of
persons with a particular condition (cases)
who die from that condition. The denominator
is the number of incident cases; the
numerator is the number of cause-specific
deaths among those cases.
Source: Dupuis, Ludovic et al, ibid
EPIDEMIC CURVE. A histogram that shows the course of a disease
outbreak or epidemic by plotting the number of cases by time of onset
week) is a standardized method of counting weeks
to allow for the comparison of data year after year
and across countries. The first epi week ends on the
first Saturday in January provided it falls at least 4
days into the month.
Source: Dupuis, Ludovic et al, ibid;
Need for GIS
Mapping in Haiti
Geographic Information Systems
• Outbreak investigation describing cases:
What? Case definition
Who? Person
When? Time
Where? Place
How many? Measures of occurrence
• Cholera data tool produced epidemic curves and basic
epidemiological analysis (person and time).
• However, geographical analysis (place) was lacking.
• Field staff needed to map the cholera outbreak to target
control interventions, control measures.
Development of GIS
mapping in Haiti by MSF
• Variable functionalities, skill set and costs
• Google Earth is easy to use and free
• Collaboration with
• Designed ‘Jiffymap’ to convert linelist into map
• Quartier boundaries
• Local staff, GPS on motorbike and crowd-sourcing
• Field teams / national staff carried out all mapping
Source: Dupuis, Ludovic et al, “Field-friendly spatial analysis tool to aid MSF cholera response in Haiti”
GIS and
MSF cholera response
GIS systems could support MSF field operations
through improved:
Medical responses
Targeting of interventions
Epidemiological analysis *
Activity planning
Photo by Ron Haviv/VII
Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of healthrelated states or events in specified populations and this studies’
application to the control of health problems.
Source: Dupuis, Ludovic et al, ibid
Satellite image and number of cholera cases
Size of red crossed square is
proportional to the number of cases
Satellite image of the epidemic in December
2010. The following image shows the same
area one week later after a water outage.
People were forced to get water where they
could, which brought on a sharp increase in
Source: Dupuis, Ludovic
et al,cases.
Source: Dupuis, Ludovic, ibid
Social media
Information and communication
technologies (ICTs): social media
Relief organisations have traditionally used centralised
control centres to gather and share information.
Developments in ICT have enabled a more rapid
dissemination of information and have led to the availability
of real time situation updates.
ICT can support risk communication to the public that
clearly and quickly identifies risks to mitigate
disasters and promote certain behaviors and measures.
The earthquakes in both Japan and Haiti have seen
interesting developments which have saved lives and
alleviated suffering.
Source: “Great Eastern Japan Earthquake”,
Mobile phone
technology: Haiti and Japan
With telecommunications infrastructure now ubiquitous, there are 4 billion mobile phones
worldwide, the majority in developing countries. Mobile phones are increasingly used as
part of preparation activities and warning communication. Their use in emergency
communications, especially through SMS is revolutionising the flow of information. Texts
take up less bandwidth than calls and are much less affected by network delays
HAITI - “Mission 4636”
A group of companies, including Ushahidi, FrontlineSMS, CrowdFlower and Samasource,
set up a text message hotline that was supported by the U.S. Department of State
and advertised by radio stations. Anyone in Port-au-Prince could send an SMS to a
toll-free number, 4636, to request help. The messages were routed to relief crews at the
U.S. Coast Guard and the International Red Cross on the ground.
JAPAN - SMS alerts
Japanese agencies disseminate SMS alerts to every registered mobile phone user in the
country as soon as p-waves are detected.
Crowdsourcing and
crisis mapping
"Often, it's not the experts who know something, it's someone in
the crowd“*
Crowdsourcing capitalises on the increasing reach of internet connectivity
and ICTs. A community of connected volunteers ‘crowdsource’, that is,
provide information and/or expertise to enhance relief operations.
Crisis mapping draws on crowdsourcing initiatives like Ushahidi and
satellite imagery, participatory maps and statistical modelling for early
warning and at times of impending crisis. They are not maps by traditional
mapmakers that would appear in a standard Atlas!
After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, for example, crowdsourcing allowed
people on the scene, mapping experts and other stakeholders to
communicate what they saw in nearly real time supporting the humanitarian
There is a lot of potential for relief organisations.
Further info: National Geographic Haiti crisis mapping:
Japan ESRI:
Source: * Sree Sreenivasan, a social media specialist at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. (USAToday,
The Ushahidi Hait Map in the first 24 hours after the earthquake.
Source: Ushahidi Haiti Project (UHP)
Social media from Ushahidi, YouTube, Twitter, and Flickr related to the
earthquakes, tsunami, and nuclear plant disasters in Japan, along with the
location of recent quakes. Source:
Voluntweeters in Haiti
Tweak the Tweet is a system of codifying tweets to be picked up automatically
by relief agencies without using human sorting (secondary level crowdsourcing
was seen when tweets were retweeted by volunteers who codified them to fit
the system). In Haiti there were over 3000 unique TtT tweets sent and
7 million tweets.
Non TtT Tweet
(2010-01-18 10:30:09) orphanage in urgent
need of supplies in Laboule: Clairnise or Alberte
Reformatted Tweet
(2010-01-18 11:11:11) #haiti #need
supplies #name orphanage #loc
Laboule #contact clairnise or alberte
509.3400.9797 #rescuemehaiti
Source on crowdsourcing and Tweak the Tweet:
Crisis mapping using
crowdsourcing- Japan
“Within an hour of the Japanese earthquake, Google's
crisis response team — launched after the disaster in
Haiti — had posted a "Person Finder" website that
quickly grew to include 450,000 records. If you're
looking for someone, you can post, 'Hey, my cousin is
a teacher in Sendai, we're looking for him. Someone
else will post, "I've seen him in a shelter; he's fine."
Jamie Yood of Google
Disaster Risk Reduction
Disaster Risk
Reduction (DRR)
While the Park Hazard Model charts the response to one or
more hazard events, Disaster Risk Reduction is a
preventative disaster management approach.
In the relief phase reactive measures deal with acute immediate
needs, emergency response to life and death.
Rehabilitation, reconstruction, prevention and preparedness deal
with longer-term causes of disaster and chronic needs. Vulnerability
and loss and disruption are minimised through technical, social and
economic measures such as pre-positioned plans and community
capacity building for improving development.
Action for students: Play a disaster simulation game from the
UN/ISDR, click:
Disaster risk management cycle
A hazard or
disaster can be an
opportunity to
vulnerability and
disruption of
future hazards.
Source: FLOODsite
Hyogo Framework
for Action
In 2005 the World Conference on Disaster Reduction in
Kobe, Hyogo, Japan agreed on a Hyogo Framework for
Action (HFA) to prioritize DRR on a global scale.
Make DRR a priority at the national and local level with strong
institutional basis for implementation.
Identify, assess and monitor disaster risks and enhance early
warning, take action.
Use knowledge, innovation and education to build
awareness and a culture of safety and resilience at all
Reduce the underlying risk factors.
Strengthen disaster preparedness for
effective response at all levels, be ready to act.
Source: UNISDR,
Development Goals
The Hyogo Framework for Action (2005-2015) observes that disaster risk reduction (DRR) is essential to
achieve internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration.
DRR matters because poor countries and communities have much lower capacity to reduce risk and
are disproportionately affected.
Objectives of mitigation
Action for students:
Use the words increase and decrease in the spaces where
• Save lives
• ________ economic disruption
• ________ vulnerability
• _______ capacity
• _______ risk
Risk Reduction
Primary mitigation
Mitigation is about preventing hazards from
becoming disasters or lessening their effects primarily
through reducing vulnerability, as the hazards
themselves largely cannot prevented or predicted. This
can be done by minimizing the effects of disaster
through building codes and zoning, public education
and vulnerability analyses.
• In primary mitigation the presence of the hazard, where
possible, and of the vulnerability is reduced.
• Secondary mitigation is intended to decrease the
impact of the hazard through preparedness and planning.
Source: WHO/EHA 2002, Disasters & Emergency definitions
The Disaster Management Cycle,
Primary mitigation:
Vulnerability analyses
Vulnerability analysis has to take account of the nature of
the settlement and its infrastructure, for example:
• Medium height buildings are more vulnerable than tall or single
storey buildings.
• Masonry buildings are more vulnerable than wooden or steel framed
buildings (albeit the fire risk is greater).
• The location of services (electricity, gas, water)may have an impact
on potential damage.
• The design and size of roads and bridges etc will have an impact on
evacuation, emergency access and potential loss of life.
Secondary mitigation
Secondary mitigation seeks to reduce the effects of
the hazard through preparing and planning how to respond.
Measures “ensure the organized mobilization of personnel,
funds, equipment and supplies within a safe environment for
effective relief.”(WHO/EHA 2002)
• For preparedness, these efforts include preparedness
plans, emergency exercises and training; warning systems.
• In terms of response, measures such as search and rescue
and emergency relief intend to minimize the hazards
created by a disaster through search and rescue, emergency
Source: WHO/EHA 2002, Disasters & Emergency definitions;
Planning for
• Planning for an earthquake is usually based on the
assumption everything will be destroyed, for example,
an earthquake of magnitude 8.0 or above in San
Francisco would destroy everything.
• Earthquakes happen without warning and it is
impossible to plan response activity in advance.
• Earthquakes are more likely (by a ratio of 3:1) during
non working hours)
• Communication systems may well be damaged which
will hamper response management.
• Aftershocks will cause additional damage, interfere
with response efforts and cause anxiety in the
Key strategies used by governments:
• Land use zoning
• Building regulations
• Evacuation drills
• Emergency service provision
Further info:
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Fema ( gives advice on how to cope
and prepare for events such as earthquakes.
Los Angeles Fire department
LAFD ( gives advice on how
to prepare for earthquakes.
Individual preparation:
Grab bag in Japan.
Hamlet of Aneyoshi
Photo by Jay Alabaster AP
Ancient warning system
In Japan, hundreds of centuries-old tablets – some over 600 years old - dot the coastline and form a
crude warning system. The stone slab reads: “High dwellings are the peace and harmony of our
descendants. Remember the calamity of the great tsunamis. Do not build any homes below this
point.“ Source:
early warning system
Japan: satellite communication technology
Japan is the World leader in Earthquake
preparedness, the earthquake set off
the Pacific Ocean Tsunami Warning System
DART II and warned about a tsunami across
the Pacific. The warnings were more
coordinated than after the Indian Ocean Tsunami
in 2004, so more people could evacuate to
higher ground.
Satellite communication has improved which
has reduced the lag between data collection
and warning. A recorder on the seabed that
transmits data about anomalies to a buoy on the
surface. Then the data is transmitted every 15
seconds via satellite to ground stations.
But Japan had only planned and prepared for a 200
to 300-year tsunami, not a 1000 year one (1 in 1000 years).
Source: USGS and NOAA;
Early Warning Systems
and Damage Assessment
Without prediction, there cannot be early warning. Early warning needs to
be followed by action to make any difference. Even a lead time of a
few seconds can allow some mitigating measures like shutting down
gas supply lines.
Government agencies must have emergency infrastructure, for example,
working channels of communication in place in order to communicate
warnings to local communities. (see Japan and Preparedness)
Early warning systems such as TriNet and ShakeMaps and
damage assessment / prediction tools such as GPS, GIS mapping
systems predict and illustrate probable damages from a number
of disaster scenarios.
Early warning response
in Japan
and preparedness in LEDCs
Mitigation measures especially long-term management of economic and
urban development in seismic areas are less likely to be efficient or
in place in less developed countries.
• People are more likely to settle in seismic areas and these tend to be
densely populated with high occupancy buildings.
• Earthquake-proof building codes and by-laws are more likely to be
inadequate, unenforced or non-existent, so the damage to property and
human life is greater.
• Warning systems are absent or lacking. There tend to be lower
awareness of risks, less public education and fewer drills, but even
where people are aware, economic survival takes precedence over
safety concerns.
• Public capacity to deal with search and rescue and mass casualties can
be lower.
The Park Model
Action for students:
Research Japan’s response after the Tohoku, Japan Earthquake
and Tsunami (2011)using the graph you made for the short- and
long-term impacts in Japan and Haiti as a starting point. How
successfully does Japan cope with its susceptibility to tectonic
hazards and reduce its risk?
Sketch a Park Model diagram for Haiti and Japan showing the
speed of the drop in quality of life, duration of the decline, and
speed and nature of recovery.
Compare and contrast Haiti and Japan’s response referring back
to the Disaster Risk Reduction Model.
What for
Japan and Haiti’s future?
Action for students:
• How can Japan and Haiti cope with their
vulnerability and exposure to natural
Logistician’s blog from Haiti
International humanitarian system and
Haiti Blog:
Before the earthquake (1)
Logistician, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Life progresses as usual here, but this is not a usual situation compared with my experiences back
home. A pregnant woman arrived in the hospital yesterday and it was all hands on deck. We
already had a full maternity ward, with patients on makeshift beds in the corridors. But what do
you do when yet another one arrives who needs emergency care? I arrange for another bed packed
beside the others and let the medics get on with their work. One emergency Caesarean Section
later and mother and child are well.
It's not just the emergencies that are exciting. All aspects of my work here are interesting. MSF is
running a maternity hospital in the capital. There are no other facilities like it in Haiti at all and the
statistics on mother and child health are still terrible. Maternal and infant mortality are especially
high which is why MSF's emergency care for complicated deliveries is so important.
My job is so varied. The infrastructure in Haiti is very poor, with basic services such as electricity,
clean, running water and transport very unreliable. I make sure that the hospital has all of these,
backing up electricity with our generators, servicing the water systems and running the fleet of cars
MSF uses for transporting staff and patients alike. I also run the medical supply system which is a
huge challenge, trying to get safe, certified medicines to the patients through our supply hub in
Amsterdam. The cold chain is a particular challenge in this heat – many medicines must be kept
between 2 and 8 C at all times and with unreliable electricity we use a system of fridges and cold
The country is so poor which means MSF has to bring in virtually all its supplies. You cannot rely on
anything being available which means planning months ahead. I have found this to be pretty tricky
when you can't really predict how many patients you will have from one week to another!
Before the
earthquake (2)
And now a little about the country itself from what I have seen. Port-Au-Prince is a thriving, but
very busy city with everything you might expect of a capital city in the developing world. There are
markets everywhere and a huge contrast between rich and poor. The slums are very basic and
house an amazing number of people, but this is also where the gangs are based. They control so
much of the city and we struggle to get anything done when they are involved. People seem to get
by though, working, trading and buying in the markets, fishing etc., although most live without
basic services in the shanties and neighbourhoods.
In the countryside it is a little different – Haiti is very densely populated and most of the forest has
been cut down to provide building materials and wood for making charcoal to cook with. One of
the most amazing sights is the border with Dominican Republic where you can physically see the
line of trees that signifies the Dominican side. The country is hilly and exposed to all manner of
natural disaster – in the last 10 years they have seen hurricanes, deforestation, flooding and
earthquakes, all of which make it a very precarious place to live.
All in all, we manage to make things work OK here. MSF manages to provide emergency care to
mothers and children in a place where it would otherwise not exist. It is hard work, but we still
manage to have some fun and just sharing all of this with our national staff and being part of our
patients' lives is very rewarding. I saw the mother and baby who I made the makeshift bed for this
morning and they are both well. It makes all the hard work worthwhile.
Immediately after
the earthquake (1)
I simply don't have time to write, and I don't know where to start, but I must
update you briefly about what has happened. Also to say that I am OK, but so
many are not. Two days ago the earth shook and changed the face of this already
struggling country. It is not an overestimation to say that virtually everything has
been destroyed.
We do not have much information about what has really happened because all the
communication except satellite phones are down. I can send this email via the sat
link, but we only download once a day. The reports we have had are only from our
staff, many of whom are still missing. Some of my international colleagues were
missing for a time, but are now all accounted for. We know that most homes have
collapsed, the hospital is almost totally destroyed and many of our patients and
staff are under the rubble. We hear that rescue operations will begin tomorrow,
but little is known. There is total chaos here.
We have been without water and electricity since the earthquake, but I have
managed to get some basics sorted out. We are still using our emergency water
supplies and I simply don't know when they will be replenished. I have rigged up
some basic electricity using our small back up generators, but we only have a
limited amount of fuel for them.
Immediately after
the earthquake (2)
Everyone is in shock: roads are blocked, essential services are destroyed and we now have to make
sense of the situation and work out how we can help in the best way possible. There are so many
things to do. We must work out how to treat the wounded, how to get clean water (not just for
ourselves, but also the entire population in the city), how to get supplies in as the port and airport
are both closed. And what about our existing patients in the maternity hospital? Babies will no
doubt still be born and who will look after the complicated deliveries? To be honest, we are
completely overwhelmed here, but we must work out at least where to start.
I have just heard a report that there maybe thousands of people buried under the rubble. That
means that sadly many will be dead and many more injured. Right now we are not set up to provide
medical or humanitarian care to these people so I must focus on rebuilding our facilities and getting
more emergency supplies into the country.
I have very little idea how the Haitian people are coping with the tragedy and the mess. Some of
our staff have made it in today and have told us about how their shanties have been flattened, but
people are busy rebuilding them already. The trouble is that with rubble everywhere and no
supplies coming into the country, nothing can get to the neighbourhoods. Food is already short and
water can only be obtained from old wrecked piping. People are still pulling friends and neighbours
out of the rubble. No news has come in yet about the situation in the countryside, but we do know
that the epicentre of the quake was right in Port-au-Prince. We have to hope that some of the
outlying areas were spared, but I just don't know.
There is so much to be done and I have to work with colleagues to prioritise the most essential
things first. Which means I have to go....!
Six months after (1)
Haiti is still such a mess. The immediate emergency of the earthquake has passed,
but there is still so much to do. Essential services remain in very poor repair and
the challenges I faced pre-earthquake are still there. They just feel multiplied a
hundred times because now we have a whole catalogue of new problems.
As you all know, the death toll was horrific, but the mess that remains challenges
us to the limit. The emergency wounded have been tended to, but we still have
awful orthopaedic cases that we see and there will continue to be lots of
rehabilitation necessary. Basic services have broken down and supplies have been
so limited we have also become aware of a problem with people living with
HIV/AIDS as their essential medication is very short supply.
The maternity hospital is, mercifully, up and running to the best of our abilities. I
have worked round the clock to help a huge team construct a new hospital out of
container like units and we have managed to get the essential medical equipment
and supplies from Amsterdam. In some ways things have stabilised and I now feel
that we have a bit of time to reflect on the last few months. It has been very
traumatic, not least of which has been coming to terms with the death of some of
our staff and their families.
Six months after (2)
If cholera comes to Haiti it could be horrific. The population is still in shock from the earthquake
and the destruction it caused, but this would be too much for them. MSF has lots of experience
around the world at dealing with cholera, but in this place it would be so hard to deal with, given
the lack of infrastructure.
The other problem is security. The earthquake created a situation where people had to fend for
themselves and we have seen a return to the gang culture that plagued the country preearthquake. The gangs control everything and even we, as MSF, have to negotiate this situation.
The gangs do not think twice about using violence if they do not get their own way and this has
complicated our work immeasurably. There are times when it simply is not safe enough to go out
and do your job. Just yesterday I had planned to go and check the water supply for one of our
community clinics, but we received word from the local gang that they controlled the water supply
and threatened me if I went to check it. How do we know they are doing it well? What are they
charging people who have nothing for clean water? What are the health implications if people are
forced to use water from the stream? I have no answers to these questions, but I still have the
responsibility of ensuring that people have clean water.
Now that things have settled down a bit life has slowly resumed in Port-au-Prince. The markets are
running again and I see people picking through the rubble to get about. Some of the roads have
been cleared so people can move about more freely and the air and seaports are running as before
the quake. Many of the shanty buildings have been put together again, but the bigger houses are
still as they were, in ruins.
Six months after (3)
Some construction has begun again, but not a lot. The good news is that produce can get into the
city from the countryside so food is a little more available, but as it is so expensive, many people
cannot afford the basics. So many people are still living in tents, given by the aid agencies, and
surviving on handout food, water and cooking facilities. There is not a patch of green in the city any
more, as all the parks, even the golf course, have been used as camps for people who lost
Before I go, I just want to tell you about one amazing thing that has come out of the disaster, which
we have used quite a lot to help us work. It seems that a bunch of computer users from around the
world have been analysing satellite mapping data from various sources, and mapping the
movements of people. For example, they can tell us where isolated groups of tents have been set
up so that the aid community can reach them. They can also tell us when people are taking long
diversions to reach certain destinations due to road blockages, which helps to clear the important
routes. It's been amazing to know that people from their own homes, all over the world, have been
helping with the mapping efforts that have been so useful to us on the ground.
I have to say I am looking forward to the end of my assignment next month as I am now completely
exhausted. It is just so hard to work so many hours for so long, but what alternative is there when
the needs around you are so great. I have learned so much in my time here, but there is so much
still to do. How will this place ever recover?
humanitarian system
UN System
UNHCR, OCHA, WFP, Unicef, WHO and others
ICRC / Red Cross Movement
Non-governmental organisations
Donor Community
UN System
OCHA = Office of the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs
UNHCR = Organisations for refugees*, not IDPs**
WFP = World Food Programme
Unicef = Children, often health
WHO = primarily support Ministry of Health (MoH)
Refugee: a person who has crossed a national border to another
country to escape conflict or persecution. About 15.2 million worldwide
according to UN Refugee Agency.
** IDP: an internally displaced person seeks refuge from violence or
disaster within the borders of the own country. IDPs outnumber
refugees by more than two to one, but no single UN or other
international agency has responsibility for responding to internal
displacement. About 26.4 million worldwide according to Internal
Displacement Monitoring Centre.
Red Cross Movement
• ICRC = International Committee of the Red
• IFRC = International Federation of Red Cross
and Red Crescent Societies
• National Red Crescent and Red Cross Societies
Non-profit, voluntary citizens’ group performing a variety
of services and humanitarian functions
• International NGOs
Varying degrees of independence
Multi-mandate agencies
Church-related agencies
Specialised like medical niche players or organisations targeting vulnerable people
• Local NGOs
Humanitarian Principles:
International humanitarian Law
There is a set of humanitarian principles.
International humanitarian Law designed to minimise
the negative impact of war (while paradoxically accepting it)
• Geneva Convention, other treaties, customary law that deals with
methods or means of warfare and the protection of civilian
• Speaking out (témoignage) against violations of humanitarian law
forms part of MSF’s mission.
Not the same as
≠ Principles of humanitarian action
≠ Human Rights Law, which is embodied in the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights applies to all people at all times, whether or not
there is war, or whether or not they are civilians.
Humanitarian Principles:
Principles of humanitarian action
Humanitarian principles illustrated by Médecins Sans Frontières
Humanity: MSF is “committed to bringing quality medical care to people in crisis regardless of
their race, religion, or political affiliation.”
Impartiality: its “work is based on the humanitarian principles of medical ethics and
Independence: “MSF operates independently of any political, military, or religious agendas.
Medical teams conduct evaluations on the ground to determine a population's medical needs
before opening programs, aiming to fill gaps that exist (rather than replicating services that are
already offered) or reach communities that are not being assisted. The key to MSF’s ability to act
independently in response to a crisis is its independent funding. Ninety percent of MSF's overall
funding (and 100 percent of MSF-USA's funding) comes from private, non-governmental sources.
In 2009, MSF had 3.8 million individual donors and private funders worldwide.”
Neutrality: “As an organization, MSF is neutral. It does not take sides in armed conflicts,
provides care on the basis of need alone, and pushes for increased independent access to victims
of conflict as required under international humanitarian law.”
Source: Doctors Without Borders,
• Complex relationship between humanitarian assistance and
political action
• Constantly need to define and question the purpose of
humanitarian action, its operational principles and relationship
with other actors like military, governments and aid agencies.
• Contextual differences, time pressure and fast-changing
situations on the ground are challenging.
• The multiplicity of agencies and actors, often independent,
can make coordinated and effective action harder.
• Emergencies can polarise objectives and it can be difficult to
be objective.
• Further issues can arise because of refugees and internally
displaced people and public health emergencies.
of natural disaster response
Areas that are recognized as priorities in humanitarian
interventions and that evaluations often flag as shortcomings
in operations:
• Linking relief, recovery and development;
• Mapping and monitoring needs and target groups;
• Synergy between local, national and international capacities;
• Coordination of humanitarian actors and projects;
• Disaster Preparedness and vulnerability reduction.
Evaluation is “systematic and impartial examination
of humanitarian action intended to draw lessons to improve
policy and practice and enhance accountability.”
Source: Assessing the Quality of Humanitarian Evaluations, The Alnap Quality Proforma,
Humanitarian response To Natural Disasters: A Synthesis of Evaluation Findings,
Further info on Haiti
Haiti before 2010
Haiti pre-earthquake:
• First independent republic in Caribbean, it rebels against slavery and
overthrows colonial rule in 1804, but remains affected by it.
• After 1804, history of two-caste society continues with mixed-race
descendants taking place of French elites. Mulattos dominate the black
population and Haiti’s politics and economy.
• Dictatorships and coup d’etats, violence and instability entrench a
notoriously inefficient and corrupt government and economy as well as
a culture of social unrest.
• Armed rebellion forces President Jean-Bertrand Aristide out of office in
2004. In 2006 democratically elected president and parliament finally
• Add to this environmental degradation and the potential of the
mountainous tropical island as a tourist destination is ruined.
Republic of NGOs
Why has Haiti been called the Republic of NGOs?
• In mid 2000s international community establishes its cooperation to help the fragile
• The over 3,000 NGOs in a population of 10 million exploded to an estimated 10,000
after the 2010 earthquake; it’s an estimate, as most are not registered. They provide
most of the services like healthcare and education and development efforts, expertise
and funding not provided by the government. They can be perceived as more stable
and accountable than the Haitian government.
• Most like government are concentrated in Port-au-Prince and urban areas, meaning
that there is little support from NGOs and government for sustainable livelihoods in
rural communities.
• Most NGOs are in relief during acute emergencies (like MSF) or reconstruction and
development (like Oxfam). To use a metaphor, the former tends to give out fish to
keep people alive, while the latter later teaches to them fish.
• The scope of the problems is beyond the mandate and capacity international
assistance. International assistance can include other nations, armies,
international agencies, non-governmental organisations, foreign philanthropists and
volunteers. Developed and wealthy nations are less likely to require or request
foreign aid in the wake of a disaster than less developed ones.
Source: Great Eastern Japan Earthquake,
Chronic housing
issues in Haiti
• Suitability or availability of land; sprawling informal suburbs and
slums; failing or non-existent infrastructure.
• Sites not cleared of rubble.
• ‘Build Back Better Requirements’, which cost more, demand
technological know how and take time.
• Land tenure issues mean that international and local nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) are struggling to identify and
get permission to build homes in alternative residential areas.
Government is stalling on land reform, tenure and ownership
legislation; there is lack of clarity about ownership of land and
Haitian elites are not cooperating as landowners.
• Translating an urban development strategy into practice.
• People are unwilling to leave Port-au-Prince because of inability to
make a living outside of the capital in spite of incentivized
government rural relocation programs.
Examples of
Crowdsourcing - Haiti
Ushahidi ( is an open source platform for
mapping in emergencies that was set up during election violence in
Kenya in 2007 and was used extensively in Haiti.
Through Open source mapping like, a
Wikipedia-like site, amateur map makers could update maps faster
following the earthquake than the US Department of Defense.
Armchair disaster relief agents around the world edited maps and
information about Haiti to assist aid workers.
Action for students:
Watch the “What is Ushahidi” video .
Discuss: the future – an opensource system that does not rely on an
existing interface and can truly develop in an impromptu way when
emergency needs occur?
Contact us or find out more
Visit our website:
About MSF:
Email us: [email protected]
Find us on facebook:
Follow us on Twitter:
Follow us on You tube:
The MSF movement was awarded the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize.

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