The Earthquake

  • Jayne E. FlemingEmail author
  • Daryn Reicherter


The effectiveness of mental health interventions in post-disaster settings is a controversial topic. A hierarchy of needs is an important consideration. After the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, a partnership formed between American academic psychiatrists, human rights attorneys, and Haitian non-governmental organizations to challenge the immigration process for earthquake survivors with need for mental health interventions. The concept of humanitarian parole, usually reserved for medical conditions, was successfully challenged for survivors suffering with trauma-related mental health diagnoses. Provisions of mental health treatment in a host country, where a survivor could be safe from the post-disaster circumstances, would optimize the likelihood of successful treatment. No resources for mental health were available in Haiti. The partnership of psychiatrists and attorneys worked with Haitian non-governmental organizations to prepare parole applications for the most egregious cases of earthquake trauma and post-earthquake sexual violence. The partnership led to more than 60 successful evacuations on the basis of psychiatric diagnosis and dire need. It also led to a new model of considering humanitarian parole as a legal option for survivors of violence internationally.


Posttraumatic stress disorder Cross-cultural psychiatry Human rights law Haiti Disaster psychiatry Torture survivor Telepsychiatry Interdisciplinary Immigration law Humanitarian parole Gender-based violence 

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Firm Reed Smith LLPNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA

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