From mountains to valleys : an alternative approach to emergency evacuation strategies in Haiti (English)
This issue focuses on emergency evacaution strategies for the people of Haiti. The country ranks as one of the countries with the highest exposure to multiple natural hazards in the world, with 96 percent of Haitians currently living at risk. Of the 10... See More +
This issue focuses on emergency evacaution strategies for the people of Haiti. The country ranks as one of the countries with the highest exposure to multiple natural hazards in the world, with 96 percent of Haitians currently living at risk. Of the 10 million people living in Haiti, two thirds live below the poverty line, and as a result, lack the capacity or resources to cope with the impacts of natural hazards. The challenge is to design evacuation strategies across different scales, with different elements from shelter facilities to open spaces to access systems that assume a flexible and comprehensive approach to the complex nature of risks in Haiti, and consider the environmental, temporal, social, economic and cultural dimensions. To develop this multi-scalar and multi-dimensional strategy to evacuation and emergency sheltering, the Government of Haiti, in partnership with the World Bank's Disaster Risk Management and Urban Development team, collaborated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Leibniz University of Hanover and the Harvard Graduate School of Design to better understand existing practices to cope with risk and inform an innovative, institutional approach to emergency evacuation systems. A three-stage approach was developed to design a series of hypothetical prototypes and conceive alternative evacuation strategies applicable to, and derived from various contexts across Haiti. These stages include: 1) strategic design research and case-study analysis, 2) pilot conceptualization and implementation methodologies, and 3) results and recommendations for scalability. The government of Haiti is transforming the concept of an emergency shelter from a basic, standalone building to a component of a broader evacuation system that entails geographic, temporal, cultural and socioeconomic factors, vital for decision-making in emergency situations. This new, and alternative thinking dramatically expands the vision of evacuation strategies to increase capacities of people to reduce loss of life, injuries, property damage, and productivity loss, and improve connectivity to the transportation network immediately after a natural hazard event.
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