COMPLEXITY IN DISASTERS: A CASE STUDY OF THE HAITIAN EARTHQUAKE RESPONSE
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This case study explores the development of an international crisis response from the perspective of the United States Coast Guard (USCG). Crisis managers, responders, and communicators from the USCG and from partner agencies were interviewed, as well as representatives from the Haitian publics of the response. The resulting narrative was used to test the previously untested Situational Theory of Problem Solving (STPS) and complexity theory, which had not previously been applied to international disaster response. Findings validated both theories and demonstrated the importance of cultural translators in effecting international disaster response. This study served as a preliminary test of STPS, and a first international application of complexity theory. Practical implications include guidance for crisis managers on how to respond to crises in a complex world, as well as how to harness cultural awareness when responding internationally.