How Earthquakes Affect Children in Haiti

Earthquakes can cause serious physical and emotional harm to children

Evidence shows that exposure to major natural disasters, such as the 2010 Haiti earthquake, can have devastating short and long-term effects on children’s mental health and overall development. This review summarizes reports the 3 years from 2017 to 2020 on the emotional, psychological and behavioral effects of exposure to this particular earthquake on children aged 10 years and older.

Analyzing the impact of earthquakes on children’s time is not easy.

First, the direct impact of natural disasters on families is reflected in their exposed vulnerabilities, which in turn influences children’s time allocation decisions.

Second, earthquakes may affect household decision-making through several other channels, for example: by damaging or destroying service infrastructure (e.g., roads, schools) and staff (e.g., reducing the number of teachers) and changes in economic conditions; changes in the labor market, which may affect, for example, the opportunity cost of schooling for children; international relief efforts; changes in children’s physical and mental health, which may affect, for example, school readiness.