Haiti enters third year of quake recovery

As World Vision wraps up quake recovery efforts in 2012 and transitions to long-term development programs, the international community is failing to fulfill its commitment to the people of Haiti.

Edited by Shawna Templeton. Photo by Meg Sattler.
Published January 4, 2012 at 12:00am PST

When a 7.0-magnitude earthquake rattled Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on January 12, 2010, the capital city was reduced to a crumbled, full-fledged disaster zone in a matter of minutes.

As hours, days, and weeks followed, the statistics began to emerge: one in three people in Haiti affected; more than 1 million homeless; 222,570 people killed.

Well before the dust had settled, World Vision had begun work on the biggest single-country humanitarian response ever undertaken in the organization’s history.

Challenges to providing relief

World Vision has been active in Haiti for more than 30 years, and our presence there enabled our staff to be among the first on the scene, responding within hours. 

World Vision maintained a robust earthquake response program, despite challenges such as:

  • Inadequate infrastructure in place before the disaster, including limited access to safe water and sanitation
  • Lack of clarity in land ownership, delaying the building of homes and transitional shelters
  • Lack of clear government strategy, due in part to transition in leadership and loss from the quake
  • Difficulty in disaster response in an urban area already suffering from overpopulation
  • A cholera outbreak in October 2010, which affected 500,000 people and has resulted in some 6,700 deaths

 

Gonzales, 12, is treated in a World Vision Cholera Treatment Unit.

World Vision’s response

As of September 2011, World Vision’s earthquake response efforts include:

  • Management and coordination of 27 displacement camps
  • Food security programming for more than 2.5 million people
  • Clean water provided to hundreds of thousands of people
  • Education and play opportunities for more than 7,000 children
  • 2,700 transitional shelters provided for almost 14,000 people

 

In addition to its earthquake response, World Vision also responded to the October 2010 cholera outbreak by providing clean water, water storage containers, water purification tablets, cholera treatment centers, and education for prevention and treatment of the disease.

“We are gratified by the progress of our cholera education program, which has already reached around 200,000 people,” said Dr. Lesly Michaud, who leads World Vision’s health program in Haiti. “This is helping ensure not just short-term relief but also long-term benefits for disease prevention in the area.”

World Vision’s earthquake and cholera response programs are fully outlined in the report “Two Years On: Haiti Earthquake Response.”

Quake response near complete, development work continues

As of September 2011, World Vision had spent nearly 90 percent of the funds raised for its earthquake response and will likely complete its response program during the second quarter of 2012. However, the organization continues to engage in transitional work, helping families move from displacement camps into transitional and permanent homes and will continue its long-term community development work in areas outside of Port-au-Prince.

Singing, dancing, and learning in Child-Friendly Spaces has brought joy to thousands of children since the Haiti earthquake.

“This is not a time to back down, but rather a time to step up,” says Jean-Claude Mukadi, World Vision’s national director in Haiti. “With the disaster recovery phase now winding down, it’s an opportune time to envision and work toward a stronger future for children, their families, and communities of Haiti.”

“The people of Haiti are resilient and hopeful,” Mukadi continues. “We will stand alongside them as they transition from managing this crisis to building a better future for themselves and their families.”

International support faltering

The international community has committed nearly $4.6 billion in support, but has only fulfilled 43 percent of its collective commitment to the Haitian people.

Mukadi acknowledges that Haiti’s success depends on more than the work of international aid agencies. “Haiti has struggled in its development for decades,” says Mukadi. “Relief and development efforts are not enough to help Haiti create sustainable development for its people.”

“[International] support, as well as clarity and leadership from the government of Haiti, will be critical for Haiti’s success,” says Mukadi.  “The international community must not abandon Haiti now."

Learn more

For more information on World Vision’s earthquake and cholera response programs, please see the report, “Two Years On: Haiti Earthquake Response.”

Read "Ask and aid worker about Haiti" on the World Vision Blog.

Two ways you can help

Pray for the people of Haiti. Pray for stability in this country that still faces many challenges. Pray for long-term, sustainable solutions that will help build communities where children and their families can thrive.

Make a one-time gift to our Disaster Response Fund. Your donation will help us respond quickly and effectively to sudden-onset disasters around the world, like the Haiti earthquake.