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Significant risk of death and damage to Haiti Great North section if hit by earthquake — study

Saturday, July 08, 2017

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PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (CMC) — A study done by a United States-based global earthquake and structural engineering firm has found that as many as 75,000 people could die in the event the Great North section of Haiti is hit by an earthquake.

The results of the study by California-based Miyamoto International firm were disclosed here earlier this week as the third meeting of the technical group on the Urban Risk Prevention Plan (PPRU) for Cap-Haitien was held here as part of the project “Support to Resilience to Natural Disasters” implemented by the United Nations Development Programme of Haiti and funded by the Government of Japan.

The meeting was attended by several stakeholders including the Secretary General of the North Delegation, the Ministry of Planning, the Haitian Red Cross, Oxfam-Haiti, the Centre for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI-Haiti) and the Office of the Secretary of State for the Integration of Persons with Disabilities.

The organisers said it provided an opportunity for the authorities to present the provisional zoning and the multi-hazard map of the Cap-Haitien commune.

It also provided for the identification of issues and means, setting out the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder and developing a targeted and effective local strategy for safeguarding.

The experts noted that the region of the Great North is considered as one of the zones of the country most exposed to seismic and tsunami risks. The high population growth, combined with the weakness of urban planning regulations, makes the large cities in the north of Haiti particularly vulnerable to all natural hazards.

The study by the Miyamoto International firm found that in the event of a major earthquake in the Great North, probable damage in the four main cities would amount to at least 75,000 deaths, 350,000 people temporarily relocated and more than 50 per cent of the building surface would be damaged.

In 2010, Haiti was hit by an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 resulting in the deaths of more than 250,000 people.

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