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Case study in disaster relief: A descriptive analysis of agency partnerships in the aftermath of the January 12th, 2010 Haitian earthquake


  • Coles, John B.
  • Zhuang, Jun
  • Yates, Justin


This study analyzes the disaster response and recovery efforts following the January 12th, 2010 Haitian earthquake through the eyes of 18 different relief agencies. Focusing on the formation and maintenance of partnerships after the catastrophic earthquake, this paper explores the concepts of cooperation, mutual understanding, and connectivity among agencies responding to the earthquake. The case study is based on results from interviews and interactions with 18 agencies during a month-long trip to Haiti in the summer of 2010. Of the agencies interviewed, it was found that agencies that had no partnerships or presence in Haiti prior to the earthquake were most likely to build new clinics, orphanages, and schools. Additionally, we found that agencies were more likely to develop new partnerships from new contacts rather than dormant contacts. By studying the partnerships between local and international agencies, it was found that their relationships were less stable than partnerships between international agencies. This study hopes to increase understanding and applicability of research in disaster relief networks by providing a new perspective into how agencies work together.

Suggested Citation

  • Coles, John B. & Zhuang, Jun & Yates, Justin, 2012. "Case study in disaster relief: A descriptive analysis of agency partnerships in the aftermath of the January 12th, 2010 Haitian earthquake," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 67-77.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceps:v:46:y:2012:i:1:p:67-77
    DOI: 10.1016/j.seps.2011.08.002

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Arturo Galindo & Alejandro Izquierdo & Liliana Rojas-Suarez, 2010. "Financial Integration and Foreign Banks in Latin America: How Do They Impact the Transmission of External Financial Shocks?," Research Department Publications 4651, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    2. Eduardo Cavallo & Andrew Powell & Oscar Becerra, 2010. "Estimating the Direct Economic Damages of the Earthquake in Haiti," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(546), pages 298-312, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dillenburger, Steven P. & Cochran, Jeffery K. & Cammarano, Vincent R., 2013. "Minimizing supply airdrop collateral damage risk," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 9-19.
    2. Konrad, Renata A. & Trapp, Andrew C. & Palmbach, Timothy M. & Blom, Jeffrey S., 2017. "Overcoming human trafficking via operations research and analytics: Opportunities for methods, models, and applications," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 259(2), pages 733-745.
    3. John Coles & Jing Zhang & Jun Zhuang, 2016. "Partnership behavior in disaster relief operations: a case study comparison of the responses to the tornado in Joplin, Missouri and Hurricane Sandy along the Jersey Coast," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 84(1), pages 625-647, October.


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