The High Plains Society
Applied Anthropology

Rising from the Wreckage: Lessons Learned from the 2010 Haitian Earthquake Response

Kristina Hook

In many ways, the 2010 Haitian earthquake presented a perfect storm scenario, as the natural disaster negatively impacted an already fragile society, compounding preexisting vulnerabilities. Due to the myriad of complex challenges this context presented, it is unsurprising that post-response evaluations of the humanitarian response have offered many critiques. As such criticism is carefully considered with the aim of improving future responses, three overarching lessons learned are presented: the need to cultivate and utilize organizational capacity, the need to develop and support strong leadership, and the need to improve and standardize data coordination. I present suggestions for strengthening these areas, while advocating that changes must further take place now within the institutional culture of the humanitarian enterprise.

The Applied Anthropologist, No. 2, Vol. 32, 2012, pp 20 - 26

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