DRC-Disaster Research Center

Quick Response Studies


A truck prepares to take supplies from a Miami warehouse to a boat awaiting deployment to Haiti

Instructions for Repatriates Arriving at Homestead Air Base Florida

Unloading of supplies at Hospital Buen Samaritano (Good Samaritan) in Jimani Dominican Republic.

Families of patients who are receiving medical treatment in Jimani Dominican Republic improvise their own housing arrangements



Humanitarian Response to Haiti Earthquake

Principal Investigators: Dr. Tricia Wachtendorf (with Jose Holguin-Veras (PI)
Graduate Researchers: Jenniffer Santos-Hernandez
Funding Agencies: The National Science Foundation

Study Description

As part of an ongoing National Science Foundation grant to study emergency logistics and relief convergence after disasters, this quick response effort allowed researchers to collect valuable data on the catastrophic earthquake and begin to understand some of the complexities of the international involvement.

Wachtendorf, spent eight days in the Miami, Florida area where her work focused on formal and informal relief efforts. She was also able to observe repatriates processed through Miami airport as well as learn about the organizations involved in this effort to assist tens of thousands of Haitian Americans as they attempt to leave Haiti for the United States. Many planes that were leaving Florida with relief supplies were subsequently returning with evacuees. Other repatriates returned to the United States on commercial air carriers or private planes. Some were Americans who were visiting family, vacationing, or working in Haiti; others were Haitian Americans who resided in Haiti and were now coming to stay with relatives.

The quick response team also included Jenniffer Santos-Hernández, a doctoral candidate in sociology and research assistant at the Disaster Research Center. Santos-Hernández, is originally from Puerto Rico and has conducted research on development and social vulnerability to disasters in the Caribbean for several years. She traveled to the Dominican Republic in January to collect information about the role that country was playing in the relief provision.
Her field work started in Santo Domingo where she spoke to representatives from several Dominican organizations directly involved in the response to Haiti. From Santo Domingo, she drove to Santiago to meet with leaders from religious organizations leading the collection of foods and other supplies as well as coordinating the logistics to transport them to Haiti. She then moved to the border municipality of Jimani where she visited hospitals, camps, and mobile kitchens. Santos-Hernández talked to numerous officials about the international humanitarian operation to support thousands of Haitians that crossed the border through Malpasse, one of the main crossing points between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.     

Study Related Publications

Fieldwork Press Release