Skip to content

Haiti Earthquake Case Study Ks3 Sats

Tectonic Hazards Case Study 1: Haiti, January 10, 2010

Case study of the management of an earthquake in a developing country

A. Where did the earthquake happen and why?

Use your copy of the map below to add the following labels:
  • Caribbean Sea
  • Mexico
  • Haiti
  • Dominican Republic
  • Florida
  • Jamaica
  • Cuba
  • Puerto Rico
1. Watch the video and study the pate boundaries map below carefully. Use it to add the following to your base map:
  • Caribbean Plate
  • North American Plate
  • Destructive boundaries (subduction zone)
  • Conservative boundaries (strike-slip fault)
2. Decide what kind of plate boundary is responsible for the Haiti earthquake. Draw an annotated diagram to show why earthquakes happen at this boundary. Your diagram should include: North American Plate, Caribbean Plate, direction of movement, location of Haiti.

B. Why was Haiti vulnerable?

Use the CIA world factbook (link below) to produce a factfile on development in Haiti. You should compare Haiti to at least three other countries including USA, Sweden, Indonesia. Your factfile should include all of the following:
  • GDP per capita
  • Literacy rate
  • Hospital bed density (explain what this means)
  • Adult literacy rate
  • Unemployment rate
  • % of population with access to the internet
What conclusions can you draw on Haiti's level of development? How will this have affected its vulnerability to a major earthquake event? Explain your answer fully.

C. Effects of the Earthquake

Use your own copy of the table below to compile a detailed and clearly structured account of the impacts of the earthquake.

Fast facts

News footage

Photos of the damage

D. How was the earthquake managed?

Use the resources below to list and evaluate the ways in which the earthquake in Haiti was managed. Use your own copy of the table below.

We can divide the stages of earthquake management into the 3 Ps for before an event and the 3 Rs after it.

Planning - government and NGOs ensuring that detailed plans are in place in the event of a natural disaster. this might include evacuation plans, action plans for emergency services, stores of shelters, food, clean water.
Preparation - this is about readiness. It might include education of the people who live in an area including the use of the media, poster campaigns, school programmes, emergency drills. It might also include land use zoning to avoid building on unstable ground, building regulations to ensure that homes and public buildings can withstand a hazard event.
Prediction - this is about giving warning of an event. Although we cannot predict the exact time and location of an earthquake we can study patterns of where they have occurred.

Rescue (short term)  - this is about acting immediately after the earthquake to ensure that survivors have medical care, food, shelter. It includes search and rescue, emergency services and organisations providing food, water and shelter immediately after the event.
Rehabilitation (Medium term) - this includes supporting people in ensuring that in the weeks/months after an event that they have shelter, food, water, sanitation, access to health care. It will also include the cleanup and repairs of damaged buildings, rubble, material left by landslides. It is about supporting people to recover and get on with their lives where possible. It might also include emotional support.
Reconstruction (Long term) - this is about rebuilding of homes, roads, water supply, sanitation and other infrastructure.

E. Why was the Haiti earthquake so damaging?

Use the resources below to investigate why this earthquake, a 7.0 on the MMS did so much damage. Start by referring back to your factfile from Part B. You should create an infographic to explain the reasons that this earthquake was so destructive - the structure in the slide share below might be useful.

Additional material

This video from the Al Jazeera correspondent contains some disturbing footage but raises valid questions on how the quake was managed.

If you’re an IB Geography SL/HL students in search of some extra FREE help, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you're looking for IB Geography notes for a test on a single topic or cramming for the final IB Geography papers, this guide has all the information you need.

I created this IB Geography study guide using the best FREE online materials for IB Geography and ordered the materials following the IB Geography SL/HL syllabus.


How To Use This Article

If you want to study a specific topic, use the Command + F function on your keyboard to search this article for specific IB Geography notes. For example, if you hope to read about Population change, use Command + F to bring up the search function. Type in “Population change” and it will bring up all of the study materials for Population change.

I separate the resources into:

  • Quick reference: a short summary of a specific sub-topic within a larger topic if you need to learn more about a very specific topic such as “gender and change.”
  • Notes with supporting videos: notes (generally 2-4 pages) if you want a summary of each overall topic with video explanations.
  • Case studies: case studies for each topic to help you better understand that topic using specific real world examples.  

If you’re looking for summary material to help you study for the IB Geography papers, check out the notes with supporting video for each topic. These notes are brief and great for a quick refresher. 


How To Use This Guide Throughout the School Year

Use this guide throughout the school year as a review for in-class quizzes if you need more help learning the material. You need to be mastering the topics throughout the school year and not just waiting to cram before the IB Geography papers.   


The Best Study Practices for IB Geography

Make sure you’re practicing related IB Geography past paper questions as you learn each new subject. You can find free IB Geography HL and IB Geography SL past papers here. Also, if you’re having difficulty understanding your in-class lesson, you should be reviewing the corresponding chapter in a textbook or this study guide.


Common Study Mistakes IB Geography Students Make

For IB Geography, there are lots of topics to master, so you can’t fall behind. Common mistakes students make are:

  1. Trying to avoid the material you didn't learn in class. If you didn’t understand it in class, you need to find more help whether through this article or tutoring.
  2. Only studying a week or two before the IB Geography papers. You will not be able to master all of the topics below in only a week or two (that is why the course is spread out over 1 to 2 years). Make sure you are learning the topics as they’re taught to you in class. Use this article for additional support learning the topics:



Part #1: Core Theme - Patterns and Changes - 70 hours for SL and HL

There are four required topics of study in this part:

Topics #1: Population in Transition


Topics #2: Disparities in Wealth and Development


Topics #3: Patterns in Environmental Quality and Sustainability


Topics #4: Patterns in Resource Consumption



Part #2: Optional Themes - 60 hours for SL and 90 hours for HL

HL students study three of the options below. SL students study two options. The options are:

Option A. Freshwater - Issues and Conflicts

  • Notes with supporting videos: Covering units 1.1-1.4
  • Quick Reference:
  • Case Studies:
    • Floods - Rio de Janerio 2011, Brazil: Floods
    • Floods - Bangladesh and Boscastle, UK: IGCSE Rivers and GCSE Rivers
    • Dams - Aswan Dam, Egypt: Dams and Reservoirs
    • Dams - Three Gorges Dam, China: Changing patterns of energy consumption
    • Floodplain managements - River Conwy, Wales: Floodplain management
    • Wetland management - Kissimmee River, US: Freshwater wetland management
    • Irrigation and salinisation - The Aral Sea: Irrigation and agriculture
    • Eutrophication (agricultural and industrial pollution) - Lake Dianchi, China: Water and change
    • Eutrophication (agricultural and industrial pollution) - Lake Biwa, Japan: Irrigation and agriculture
    • Groundwater pollution - Hinkley, US: Irrigation and agriculture
    • Irrigation - Libya: Irrigation and agriculture
    • Conflict within a drainage basin - Jordan River (Israel and Palestine): Conflicts at the local or national scale
    • Conflict within a drainage basin - Loa River Basin, Chile: Conflicts at the local or national scale
    • Conflict at an international scale - River Nile: Conflicts at the international scale


Option B. Oceans and their Coastal Margins


Option C. Extreme Environments


Option D. Hazards and Disasters - Risk Assessment and Response

  • Notes with supporting videos: Covering units D.1-D.5
  • Quick Reference:
  • Case Studies:
    • Human induced hazard - Chernobyl, Ukraine: Human-induced Hazard
    • Living near hazards - Tourism (Mount Arenal, Costa Rica): Vulnerable Populations
    • Living near hazards - Geothermal power (Iceland): Vulnerable Populations
    • Living near hazards - Shortage of space/inertia (El Boqueron, El Salvador): Vulnerable Populations
    • Living near hazards - Beauty (Mount St. Helens, US): Vulnerable Populations
    • Hazard prediction - Sukurajima Volcano, Japan: Hazard event prediction
    • Hazard prediction - Hurricane Katrina, US: Hazard event prediction
    • Earthquake - Haiti earthquake: Measuring Disasters
    • Floods - Rio de Janerio 2011, Brazil: Floods
    • Floods - Bangladesh and Boscastle, UK: IGCSE Rivers and GCSE Rivers
    • Volcano - Mount St. Helens, US: Earthquakes and Volcanoes
    • Drought - East Africa 2011: Droughts
    • Earthquakes - Kobe, Japan and Afghanistan: IGCSE Plate Tectonics and GCSE Plate Tectonics
    • Manmade hazard - Wildfires, Australia: Measuring Disasters
    • Hurricane/typhoon/cyclone - Hurricane Katrina and Cyclone Nargis: Measuring Disasters
    • Before a hazard - Comparison of Haiti, Italy and Sichuan earthquakes: Before the event
    • Responses to a hazard - Indian Ocean tsunami: Short‑term, mid‑term and long‑term responses after the event
    • Responses to a hazard - Haiti earthquake: Short‑term, mid‑term and long‑term responses after the event
    • Responses to a hazard - Gujurat 2001 earthquake, India: Short‑term, mid‑term and long‑term responses after the event




Option E. Leisure, Sport and Tourism


Option F. The Geography of Food and Health


Option G. Urban Environment



Part #3: HL Extension - Global Interactions - 60 hours for HL only

HL students must study the 7 topics below:

  • Longer notes with supporting videos: Covering all 7 HL topics.
  • Case Studies covering all 7 topics:
    • International organisations and forums - G20, OECD, World Economic Forum: Global core and periphery
    • Transportation - Air travel in the UAE: Time–space convergence and the reduction in the friction of distance
    • Transportation - Containerisation (Panama Canal and the 'Box'): Time–space convergence and the reduction in the friction of distance
    • IT connectivity - China and UK compared: Extension and density of networks
    • International organisations - IMF, World Bank and WTO: Financial flows
    • Economic migration - Poland - UK: Labour flows
    • Economic migration - UAE: Movement responses - Migration
    • Outsourcing - Bangalore, India: Information flows
    • Environmental damage caused by a raw material - Palm oil (Malaysia and Indonesia): Degradation through raw material production
    • Environmental damage by TNC - Bhopal, India (Union Carbide): The effects of transnational manufacturing and services
    • Industrial pollution - Minimata, Japan: The effects of transnational manufacturing and services
    • Industrial pollution - BP OIl Spill: The effects of transnational manufacturing and services
    • E-waste - China: The effects of transnational manufacturing and services
    • Mining pollution - Sidoarjo, Indonesia: The effects of transnational manufacturing and services
    • Nuclear pollution - Chernobyl, Ukraine: Human-induced Hazard
    • Pollution poor neighbourhood in MEDC - TS2 postcode, UK: The effects of transnational manufacturing and services
    • Transboundary pollution - Acid rain: Transboundary pollution
    • Transboundary pollution - Chernobyl, Ukraine: Transboundary pollution
    • Transboundary river pollution - Hungary sludge (River Danube) and Songhua River, China: Transboundary pollution
    • Environmental NGOs - Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth: Transboundary pollution
    • Homogenisation of landscape - UAE: Homogenization of landscapes
    • Cultural diffusion/dilution - Bhutan: Cultural diffusion - the process
    • Growth of branded commodities - Coca-Cola and McDonald's: Consumerism and culture
    • Diaspora - The Irish: sociocultural integration
    • Impacts of globalisation on an indigenous group - The Dani, Indonesia: sociocultural integration
    • Loss of political sovereignty - The EU: Loss of sovereignty
    • Responses to globalisation - Secularisation in France: Responses
    • Responses to globalisation: Nationalism in Europe/UK: Responses
    • Responses to globalisation: Emiratisation in the UAE: Responses
    • Responses to globalisation: Migration controls in Arizona, US: Responses
    • Glocalisation - Quick, France and McDonald's: Defining glocalization
    • Local responses to globalisation - BigBarn, Eat The Seasons: Local responses to globalization
    • Anti-globalisation movements - People's Global Action and Focus on the Global South Group: Local responses to globalization
    • Alternatives to globalisation - The Amish: Alternatives
    • Alternatives to globalisation - Uncontacted Tribes: Alternatives
    • Alternatives to globalisation - Fairtrade: Alternatives
    • Alternatives to globalisation - The Grameen Bank: Alternatives


Topics #1: Measuring Global Interactions


Topics #2: Changing Space - The Shrinking World



Topics #3: Economic Interactions and Flows


Topics #4: Environmental Change


Topics #5: Sociocultural Exchanges


Topics #6: Political Outcomes


Topics #7: Global Interactions at the Local Level


What’s Next?

Learn more about IB Geography:

Learn more about other IB Classes:

Want to improve your SAT score by 240 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now: