Running head: HAITI’S EARTHQUAKE AND THE HUMANITARIAN IMPULSE1“Denaturalizing ‘Natural’ Disasters: Haiti’s Earthquake and the Humanitarian Impulse”By Andrew D. PintoName:Institution affiliation:Date:
HAITI’S EARTHQUAKE AND THE HUMANITARIAN IMPULSE2According to the UN, a natural disaster is “the consequences of events triggered by natural hazards that overwhelm local response capacity and seriously affect the social and economic development of a region” (Peduzzi et al 2009). However in his analysis of the case of Haiti’s catastrophe of 12thof January, 2010, Andrew D. Pinto detects a lack of clarity on what should be termed “natural” and that which should be said to be “manmade”. A magnitude-8.8 earthquake struck Chile on 27thof February, 2010 killing approximately 800 people (Pinto, 2010). The magnitude-7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti on 12thJanuary the same year left more than 220 000 people dead and 2.3 people displaced (Pinto, 2010). Sure, an earthquake of those magnitudes is bound to result to a natural disaster. However, how an earthquake of a greater magnitude strikes less in one country while that of a lower magnitude becomes much more lethalthan the former in another country suggests an involvement of an unnatural factor(s). This paper will thus evaluate how “natural” the Haiti’s earthquake on 12thJanuary, 2010 was drawing on Andrew Pinto’s point of view.If Haiti’s earthquake was purely natural, why then was the striking results so different from those of a greater magnitude earthquake that struck Chile? Many people have associated theresults of Haiti’s earthquake to physical factors such as poor building construction, the earthquake’s shallow epicenter, inadequate emergence response and its closeness to the center of a major population (Pinto, 2010). While these could have been reasons for the forby high mortality rate, Pinto was of the opinion that the major contribution to the extraordinary results is Haiti’s poverty and conflicts that can only be understood from the country’s historical records.