Brussels, 15 January 2010
European Commission supports relief efforts in Haïti with first damage assessment: facts and maps
More than 4000 physical structures were destroyed or damaged in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, by the magnitude 7 earthquake that struck the country on 12th January 2010. About 2000 residential buildings have partially or totally collapsed and the same number of buildings shows severe damage. A number of critical infrastructures such as government buildings, educational structures and hospitals have collapsed or are severely damaged. These are the preliminary findings of a rapid damage assessment carried out by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) based on the analysis of very high resolution satellite imagery acquired before and after the disaster. Rapid damage assessment provides valuable information in order to effectively plan relief and assistance measures, as well as for subsequent reconstruction and recovery planning efforts.
The analysis of pre and post-disaster satellite images shows the following preliminary results :
It is very likely that the damages currently identified in this analysis underestimate the actual building and infrastructure damages present on the ground, as damages to the internal structures are not detectable from satellite images.
The analysis suggests that the damage is concentrated in the metropolitan Port au Prince area, including the village Carrefour (). Damage to residential buildings in the Carrefour area is concentrated in steep hilly terrain. There is evidence of landslides and unstable slopes in these areas, which is a cause for concern in the next rain period. Although roads and, especially, bridges have been found to be largely intact, they can be disrupted due to the rubble that has gathered over the road surface from the destroyed structures.
The damage assessment of Port-au-Prince was undertaken on the basis of analysing pre- and post-disaster very high resolution satellite imagery.
The JRC has been supporting the European Commission's services in coordinating a response from the EU, by issuing early warning alerts and delivering updated situation maps. The Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS), a web-based platform developed by the JRC and the United Nations, detected the first shock after 18 minutes and issued a red alert to 8500 users, mainly aid and first response organisations.
Post-disaster Geoeye satellite imagery (50cm Resolution) acquired on 13 January 2010.
Pre-disaster QUICKBIRD satellite imagery (60-70cm resolution) acquired 2006-2009.
JRC scientists have interpreted these pre and post disaster satellite data and manually counted and classified damages based on visual interpretation of the images.
Find more on JRC's website: