J. E. Daniell1,2, B. Khazai2, and F. Wenzel21General Sir John Monash Scholar, The General Sir John Monash Foundation, Level 5, 30 Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000, Australia 2Center for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology (CEDIM) and Geophysical Institute, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Hertzstrasse 16, 76187, Karlsruhe, Germany
Received: 29 Apr 2013 – Accepted for review: 06 May 2013 – Discussion started: 15 May 2013
Abstract. Casualties are estimated for the 12 January 2010 earthquake in Haiti using various reports calibrated by observed building damage states from satellite imagery and reconnaissance reports on the ground. By investigating various damage reports, casualty estimates and burial figures, for a one year period from 12 January 2010 until 12 January 2011, there is also strong evidence that the official government figures of 316 000 total dead and missing, reported to have been caused by the earthquake, are significantly overestimated. The authors have examined damage and casualties report to arrive at their estimation that the median death toll is less than half of this value (±137 000$). The authors show through a study of historical earthquake death tolls, that overestimates of earthquake death tolls occur in many cases, and is not unique to Haiti. As death toll is one of the key elements for determining the amount of aid and reconstruction funds that will be mobilized, scientific means to estimate death tolls should be applied. Studies of international aid in recent natural disasters reveal that large distributions of aid which do not match the respective needs may cause oversupply of help, aggravate corruption and social disruption rather than reduce them, and lead to distrust within the donor community.
Daniell, J. E., Khazai, B., and Wenzel, F.: Uncovering the 2010 Haiti earthquake death toll, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., 1, 1913-1942, doi:10.5194/nhessd-1-1913-2013, 2013.