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The impact of the earthquake and humanitarian assistance on household economies and livelihoods of earthquake-affected populations in Haiti

Thomas D. Kirsch, MD, Eva Leidman, MSPH, William Weiss, DrPH, Shannon Doocy, PhD

Abstract


Objective: On January 12, 2010, one of the most destructive earthquakes in history struck the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince. This study aims to characterize the impact of the earthquake and humanitarian response on well being of the affected households as means of evaluating the effectiveness of response efforts.
Design: A stratified 60 × 20 cluster survey was conducted in Port-au-Prince internally displaced persons camps (n = 600) and neighborhoods (n = 596) in January 2011. Clusters were assigned using probability proportional to size sampling and data were collected using interviewer-administered questionnaires.
Results: The earthquake affected incomes in 90 percent of camp and 73 percent of neighborhood households (p < 0.001); camp households were consistently worse off by most measures of economic and food security. As compared to camps, living in a neighborhood was associated with increased odds of better/same income status (Odds ratio, OR: 1.78, Confidence interval, CI: 1.25-2.53), employment (OR: 1.47, 1.01-2.14), and food access (OR: 1.83, CI: 1.33-2.52).With respect to earthquake impacts, damage to the home was associated with decreased odds of better/same food access (OR: 0.55, CI: 0.33-0.93) and injuries with decreased odds of better/same income status (OR: 0.57, CI: 0.37, 0.87).Within 1 month of the earthquake, 89 percent of camp and 46 percent in neighborhood households had received humanitarian assistance (p ≤ 0.001); however, receipt of aid was not associated with improved income, employment, or food access at 1 year postearthquake.
Conclusions: The immediate impacts of injury and mortality had marginal influences on long-term household economic security, whereas displacement into camps was stongly associated with negative outcomes for income, employment, and food access.


Keywords


Haiti, earthquake, disaster, impact, displacement, livelihoods, economic recovery

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/ajdm.2012.0084

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