Alexandra C Morel, PhD* - Earth Institute, Columbia University
Liana Razafindrazay, MSc - CIESIN, Columbia University
The Caribbean Basin is among the most vulnerable regions for natural disasters. For Haiti, institutional capacity is concentrated in the capital city, Port-au-Prince, where the majority of the country's population is located. Following the January 2010 earthquake, refugees fled back to their rural homes creating additional burdens on already impoverished areas. By performing a spatial risk assessment of the country, taking into account variables such as land use and land cover change, access to networks and availability of health and education services, it would be possible to identify sites least able to support their burgeoning populations and, thereby identify the primary sources of migrants to the capital. Following a classical hazard framework, similar to those used by Collins et al (2009), we will create an integrated risk map that combines social vulnerability and physical factors using GIS and remote sensing techniques. To model the relative numbers of migrants leaving from each department we will use the dataset derived from mobile phone tracking immediately following the 2010 earthquake, developed by Bengtsson et al (2010). We expect to find the sites that have the largest number of migrants moving to the capital are the areas with the highest levels of vulnerability. For natural hazard risk assessment, these would be the sites least able to support the large influx of refugees returning following a natural disaster. Additionally, this analysis would identify sites outside the capital adding pressures on already overextended urban infrastructure.