Rebuilding Haiti – Swiss Re issues new earthquake hazard map

The powerful earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12 lasted just thirty-five seconds, but the devastation it left behind will impact the country for years to come. To support the reconstruction efforts, Swiss Re has issued a preliminary seismic hazard map for Haiti based on the latest data available.

An estimated three million people in Haiti were affected by the earthquake, over 230,000 people lost their lives, and hundreds of thousands remain without shelter after their homes collapsed. At the recent UN donor conference, countries pledged USD 5 billion for short-term relief over the next few months. Rebuilding the impoverished nation will require billions more.

Haiti sits on a seismically active zone and has a history of earthquakes. Disaster can strike again at any time. And so as this battered country begins its long road to recovery, constructing an infrastructure that is better equipped to withstand future quakes will be critical to protect lives and assets. Earthquake hazard maps are important tools to build this first line of defence. They highlight varying threat levels across Haiti and – as more refined data becomes available – help to appropriately apply earthquake-resistant building standards for buildings, bridges, roads, utilities, and other structures.

Swiss Re's seismic hazard map for Haiti has been revised using our in-house risk models. The colour coding illustrates the risk for potential ground shaking intensities across the country. The map is preliminary and therefore only indicative of current threat levels. It is recommended to update it as soon as more in-depth research becomes available.

View Swiss Re's probabilistic earthquake hazard map for Haiti

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