A leadership platform for you

RAPID ASSESSMENT SUMMARY – Petit Goave Aftershock (20 January, 2010)


 At 0603hours on 20 January 2010, the USGS reported a 6.1 magnitude earthquake at 9.9 km depth, 5.4 km west of Petit Goave [population 154,739]. (Note – the USGS later reported the aftershock as 5.9 magnitude at 10km depth.) In response to this event, the United Nations dispatched a MINUSTAH helicopter carrying a rapid assessment and response team of UNDAC, EU, USAR, and medical specialists. The team arrived in Petit Goave at approximately 1010h. By 1050hours the team had conducted a visual inspection of the city core and had confirmed with local authorities that Petit Goave had not experienced any significant new damage and that there were no reported injuries as a result of the aftershock.

 As indicated by the 16 January rapid assessment conducted by UNDAC, EU, and IOM, most residents of Petit Goave were already on the streets of the city and not in their dwellings at the time of this aftershock.

The team worked with local officials to identify seven (7) buildings that had collapsed as a result of the aftershock. UK I-SAR resources then searched these sites and found nobody entrapped. The UK team remained on location to conduct a methodical search of the remainder of the city.

As a part of its assessment, the team visited the local hospital and found that while doctors were present, the hospitals facilities were severely damaged and that there was a shortage of medical supplies. The team’s medical component, consisting of 15 medical professionals from Poland, established a clinic at the site and were to remain until 1500hours 21 January 2010.

 The team then completed a more in-depth humanitarian assessment of Petit Goave. This included discussion with the Mayor, Police Commissioner, NGO contacts, hospital administrator and local residents.  



Immediate Needs –


  • Water purification kits
  • Potable water
  • Shelter
  • Medical supplies and facilities
  • Food
  • Reinstatement of banking infrastructure (little cash in local economy)
  • Fuel


  • UK ISAR team searched the city centre and found no entrapped victims following the aftershock of 20 January.
  • Seven structures were reported collapsed as a result of the aftershock.
  • Local civil protection officials have begun to clear debris from collapse sites.
  • Certain buildings in the city centre are at risk of further collapse and could threaten surrounding structures.
  • A structural engineer from Swiss Humanitarian Aid has commenced a survey of key buildings.


Health –


  • The engineer from Swiss Humanitarian Aid made an initial assessment that the main hospital building was damaged beyond repair.
  • Seven Cuban doctors are working with five local doctors to operate a clinic in the hospital courtyard.
  • The hospital administrator reported that medical supplies were very low.
  • 50-60 patients are being treated per day.
  • The doctors are visiting local IDP camps in an attempt to prevent the spread of disease and because there is no space at the hospital compound. 
  • The departing USAR team will be leaving its medical supplies at the hospital due to the severe shortages observed.


Shelter –

  • The large local IDP camp previously located at the sports field (N18°25’55” by W072°51’41”) has been disbanded by local authorities and the field is now a landing zone for helicopters.
  • Other local IDP camps were observed and some residents are living in the street.
  • Camp conditions are primitive, with no sanitation, no potable water (river water only), and makeshift materials.
  • There are 36,296 households in Petit Goave (2008 UNFPA census)


Food –


  • Residents reported limited food supplies and a lack of cash access to purchase food.
  • The local Market was shut down and empty due to lack of stock.
  • Some food was available from street vendors and prices were reported as stable and at market value.
  • Fresh bread and vegetables were available from some vendors.



  • MINUSTAH is providing potable water from its camp. The hospital is using this water, but residents’ ability to do so is limited by a lack of water containers.
  • Water is available from a local river (not treated), but residents report it is not potable.
  • No sanitation arrangements were observed in the local IDP camps.
  • A large amount of refuse was observed in the streets.


Education –


  • A local teacher reported schools were closed.
  • Local IDP camps are located at some schools.
  • The city appears well served by school facilities – most of which appear undamaged.



  • Local and UN police are present and visible in the community.
  • There were no reports of lawlessness.
  • Local IDP camps lack secure perimeters.



  • Local officials report that heavy equipment is available, but a lack of fuel is limiting recovery efforts.
  • Existing resources are being well-managed by local officials.


Miscellaneous –


  • The mayor reported 1077 people dead as a result of the 12 January earthquake.
  • Electricity remains off.
  • The electric grid has sustained some damage (poles down).
  • Local officials state that the population is reluctant to return to their dwellings, due to fear of further aftershocks. This has been reinforced by today’s strong aftershock.



  • Local officials and NGOs have established a response coordination group and have identified current needs. The coordination committee can be contacted at
  • Local civil protection and community networks are in place and appear to be functioning well, despite a shortage of resources.   
  • Local officials have managed corpses, although some victims are reported to be still under rubble (when accessed, these are being buried by local officials).
  • Swiss Humanitarian Aid is dispatching shelter kits (tent, mattress, kitchen kits, etc.) for 1000 people. Further supplies will be sent for 3000 people total.
  • A 15-person Polish medical team will remain in the community until 21 January.
  • Swiss Humanitarian Aid is setting up two large tents in the hospital compound.
  • Medicins Sans Frontiers and Medicins du Monde were on location at the hospital to provide supplies and support.
  • UK ISAR completed a reconnaissance operation for the entire urban area of Petit Goave – no live entrapments found.


January 20, 2010 (2000hours)






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: