Why Haiti is prone to natural disasters

Posted by Zimasa Katamzi on 16 August 2021

An earthquake of 7.2 magnitude hit Haiti on Saturday morning and took the lives of nearly 1,300 people, stronger than the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Port-au-Prince in 2010.

Why Haiti is prone to natural disasters

Susan E. Hough is a seismologist with the United States Geological Survey who studied the 2010 earthquake and believes that the two quakes are linked, reports the NY Times.

‘It’s well established that you do have this domino concept,’ she said, where the energy released by one earthquake alters the stress patterns elsewhere along the fault line. ‘But we don’t have a crystal ball that tells us which domino is going to fall next.’

This Caribbean country is exposed to a wide range of natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, droughts, earthquakes, and landslides, because it lies in the middle of the hurricane belt, with 1,771 km of coastline. The country’s geographical location, high population density and weak infrastructure make it very vulnerable to greater damage than other Caribbean countries.

Haiti sits near the intersection of two tectonic plates – the Caribbean plate and the North American plate. Both of the earthquakes struck on an east-west fault line at the convergence of these two tectonic plates.

Action News reported that It is presumed this fault line is the source of three other big earthquakes that hit Haiti between 1751 and 1860, two of which destroyed Port-au-Prince.

Earthquakes are the results of two tectonic plates slowly moving against each other and creating friction over time, and the most destructive effects of earthquakes are landslides, tsunamis, fires, fault ruptures, and aggressive shaking of the ground that results in the great loss of property.

Picture: Twitter/@miaamormottley






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