Disaster relief in post-earthquake Haiti: unintended consequences of humanitarian volunteerism

Travel Med Infect Dis. 2011 Jan;9(1):1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.tmaid.2010.10.006. Epub 2010 Dec 3.


This article provides an overview of US humanitarian relief efforts in Haiti following the earthquake on January 12, 2010. Humanitarian aid arrived rapidly from many sources and was largely provided by organized and skilled humanitarian volunteers. There are however multiple impacts on the existing health care systems, as well as the pharmaceutical and medical supply chain created by massive relief efforts involving personnel, medicines, supplies and equipment that should be considered even in the immediate post-disaster period. Additionally the consequences of short-term medical missions by secular and non-secular NGOs should be considered carefully both in the post-disaster period and as ongoing support to underserved populations.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Altruism*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disaster Planning / organization & administration
  • Earthquakes*
  • Emergency Medical Services / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Haiti
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Poverty
  • Relief Work*
  • Volunteers*
  • Young Adult