Haiti

Aid in Haiti after the earthquake in August 2021

An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 struck Haiti on the 14th of August 2021. More than 2200 people were killed and more than 12 000 people were injured. Tens of thousands have lost their shelter. Caritas Switzerland provided immediate emergency relief after the quake and is now helping to rehabilitate schools.

 

The disaster of 14 August 2021 has once again brought great hardship to crisis-ridden Haiti. The epicentre of the quake is in the west of Haiti. The areas around Les Cayes and Jeremie were hit hard. This is also the region where Hurricane Matthew caused severe destruction in 2016, from which the area had not yet fully recovered. 

No home, no livelihood

More than 2200 people lost their lives and over 12,000 were injured. The quake caused severe damage to the entire infrastructure and destroyed or damaged a total of around 130,000 public and private buildings. Tens of thousands of people, some of whom had been living in their houses for 40 or 50 years, stood before the ruins of their existence. Heavy rains in the days after the earthquake made the situation even worse. Landslides and rockfalls destroyed fields, leaving self-sustaining households with no crops to pick, and therefore without food. 

 
 

Caritas' emergency aid

First emergency assistance: goods and cash

In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, the local Caritas organisations in Les Cayes, Jérémie and Nippes have provided 1400 of the poorest affected families with food parcels, soap, hygiene masks and water. They also supplied 15 community centres with medicines. With its local partners Caritas Cayes and Ahaames, Caritas Switzerland furthermore provided financial support to 2000 destitute families until November 2021. With a one-off sum of money of around 100 Swiss francs, the project beneficiaries will be able to buy food or other everyday goods on the local markets to cover their most urgent needs.

A safe learning environment for school children

Over half a year after the earthquake, the needs remain high. Infrastructure, sources of income and public services such as health care have still not been fully restored. Education is also affected.

In April 2021, Caritas Switzerland therefore launched another project with its partners Caritas Cayes and Ahaames. The aim is to enable children to return to school in a safe environment and to avoid the long-term consequences of the interruption of their education. Thus, Caritas repairs school buildings in the Département Sud and ensures access to sanitary facilities and water. We also train children and teachers in proper hygiene practices and provide knowledge on protective behaviour in the event of natural disasters. This project will benefit 960 school children and 60 school staff in Maniche and Camp-Perrin by the end of 2022.

 

Photos taken in the Département du Sud, Camp-Perrin and Maniche, autumn 2021

Photos: Pamela Stathakis
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Photos: Pamela Stathakis
 

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