Remembering 2010 Earthquake in Haiti - Regional Roadmap for Urban Seismic Risk Management in the Caribbean

Bridgetown, Barbados, January 12th, 2017 – Today January 12, 2017 marks the 6th anniversary of the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that devastated Haiti. The earthquake affected over 3 million people and claimed up to 150,000 lives.

Earthquakes rank among the highest in potential to cause the most destruction in one event in the Caribbean. Many countries within the Caribbean Region are threatened by future large earthquakes which will occur when strain accumulation on segments of the adjacent tectonic plate boundary exceeds breaking point. To a large extent, the resulting damage will depend on the choice of risk management measures that are implemented to evade or reduce vulnerability to strong ground shaking.

In efforts to address such vulnerabilities, over 150 participants from across the Caribbean Region met at the Caribbean Urban Seismic Risk Forum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti from 18-21 September, 2016. The forum provided an opportunity for Caribbean countries to chart a path to sustainable development through the exchange of experiences, information-sharing and the joint development of the ‘Regional Roadmap on Urban Seismic Risk Management in the Caribbean’.

In his closing speech to the Forum on the regional roadmap, the Minister of the Interior and Territorial Authorities of Haiti welcomed this great initiative that will allow for cooperation between institutions and their countries to deal with a common and permanent problem. He emphasized the importance of managing seismic risk in urban areas as the region faces explosive development of rampant urbanization, which adds to the vulnerability of smaller States.Members of the Head Table at the Closing Session of the Regional Seismic Risk Forum held in Haiti, 18-21 September, 2016. From Left: Mr. Arturo López-Portillo Contreras, ACS; Mr. Ronald Jackson, CDEMA; Mr. François Anick Joseph, Minister of the Interior and Local Authorities, Haïti, Mr. Fritz Deshommes, State University; Mr. Yves Fritz Joseph, National Laboratory of Building and Public Work of Haiti. Photo credit: UNDP Haiti

The Regional Roadmap will assist stakeholders from local, national and regional levels as well as public, private and civil society sectors to identify, implement and report on actions taken in their various spheres of work related to risk governance, understanding urban seismic risk, mitigation and preparedness, response, recovery and reconstruction, public awareness and education, risk finance and transfer, and business continuity planning.

Mr. Ronald Jackson, Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) lauded the Urban Seismic Risk Forum as a great success. He highlighted the role of CDEMA in the pre-workshop shaping of the Roadmap which was a key output of the deliberations. “I would like to reiterate CDEMA’s support for the utilization of the Roadmap from a regional lens, including the coordinating, monitoring and reporting scope of involvement in the future”. Mr. Jackson further indicated that institutionalization of the Roadmap has commenced with CDEMA in acknowledging the roles that the Regional Technical Working Group (RTWG) and the Physical and Environmental Planning Sector Sub-Committee (PEPSSC) will play going forward. Read more