On the evening of Tuesday 12 January 2010, the most powerful earthquake to hit Haiti for 200 years struck near the capital, Port-au-Prince. More than 230,000 people were killed, and millions more were made homeless.
The earthquake struck just ten miles south-west of the capital, destroying most government buildings as well as the offices of the UN Mission in Haiti.
In the aftermath of the earthquake, we launched an emergency appeal to support the people of Haiti. Thanks to your remarkable generosity, we have so far raised more than £5.3 million.
The money you raised funded emergency tents or shelter kits for over 12,000 people, as well as kitchen kits including pots, pans and utensils for thousands more.
We helped build hygienic latrines, showers and washing stations in camps like this one. We set up “water bladders” – large inflatable tanks of water – that ensured 40,000 people had safe drinking water.
We have funded projects to help educate people about the disease. In this camp, a graffiti artist helps spread the word about the importance of good hygiene.
With many government buildings destroyed in the earthquake, including those housing records about land ownership, aid agencies have faced huge logistical challenges. The lack of proper records about who owns land has hampered efforts to construct new houses.
Despite the challenges, we have helped to build new earthquake and hurricane-resistant homes in Gressier, just outside Port-au-Prince, and are supporting Caritas Port-au-Prince as they build new houses.
“ God has provided” Celina’s story Celina lives in Gressier and lost her home in the earthquake. Thanks to you, she is about to move in to a new earthquake-resistant house. “ I was fetching water to make tea when the earth shook,” she remembers. “I tried to crawl to a safe place, but I couldn’t. Then my son found me and carried me to a safe place. I saw people running around, crying. “ I’m very happy to be moving into a new house. I lost everything in the earthquake, and I’ve been living in difficult conditions for a very long time. I’d never have been able to manage this on my own. God has provided.”
New shelters replace houses that were destroyed by the earthquake in the district of Nan Citron of Port-au-Prince. We have supported water and sanitation to accompany the new homes, in order to prevent the spread of disease.
We are ensuring that people in Haiti are better prepared for future disasters, for example by encouraging farmers to use farming techniques that will reduce the risk of damage from landslides caused by hurricanes.
Two years on, the situation in Haiti is challenging. It will take many years for people to recover after the earthquake. But thanks to your generosity, we have helped people to live with dignity in an extremely difficult situation. We will continue to stand by them every step of the way. Photos: Nana Anto-Awuakye/CAFOD Sarah Marsh/CAFOD Mike Noyes/CAFOD Kate Orlinsky/Caritas Internationalis N Fischer/Caritas Switzerland
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