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Haiti

Haiti has the highest rates of infant, child, and maternal mortality in the Western Hemisphere.
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Haiti is a fragile nation that suffers frequent natural disasters. The country lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and is subject to severe storms from June to November, while also facing floods caused by rainfall during hurricanes, periodic droughts, and the risk of earthquakes. Extensive deforestation makes Haiti even more vulnerable to the effects of storms.

In 2012, two major natural disasters struck the region. In October, just two months after Tropical Storm Isaac left major damage, Hurricane Sandy lashed Haiti with fierce winds and heavy rainfall that caused massive floods, eroded away roads and croplands, and destroyed homes.

Haiti is still recovering from one of the deadliest earthquakes in recorded world history, which struck in January 2010. In one terrible moment, 222,570 Haitians lost their lives and more than 1.5 million lost their homes. Years later, shelter remains a major priority.

As we work alongside Haitians, we have identified other urgent needs they face, including access to safe drinking water and sanitation, and emergency responses to cholera outbreaks, hurricanes, and other disasters. 

When disasters strike, Medair’s teams are prepared to carry out immediate assessment and response. In our responses, we implement Disaster Risk Management techniques to prevent or reduce the impact of frequently occurring disasters. 

Medair began providing relief and recovery in Haiti within days of the 2010 earthquake.

Where We Help
Jacmel and surrounding rural area

Medair works in Jacmel in the Sud-Est Department, the fourth largest city in Haiti.  We also provide relief in the rural region around Jacmel like La Montagne.

Côtes-de-Fer

This remote, mountainous region is so difficult to reach that it has largely been neglected. Women and children walk for hours to collect water, and open defecation is widely practiced. In 2012, Isaac and Sandy left a trail of deep devastation in these communities, destroying houses, crops, and roads and leaving families vulnerable to food scarcity.

Our Projects
Transforming Shelters into Permanent Homes image
Transforming Shelters into Permanent Homes

Medair is upgrading transitional shelters it built after the earthquake into safe, permanent homes for families in Jacmel and La Montagne. These high-quality homes are not only disaster-resilient but also culturally appropriate with customisable wall types, gallery placements, and colours. Some of the shelter transformations are owner-led, with Medair providing cash grants, building materials, and technical guidance.

“Medair’s shelter programme has been hugely successful at adapting their construction designs to meet the needs of the local communities. The Medair houses are well-built and well-appreciated by the homeowners.”

-    Béatrice Boyer, Team Leader, Groupe URD, independent experts hired by funding partner Swiss Solidarity to assess Medair’s work (2012).

New Homes and Home Repairs  image
New Homes and Home Repairs

In Côtes-de-Fer, Medair is building permanent homes for families whose homes were destroyed by the earthquake. We are also repairing damaged homes to secure them and make them earthquake- and hurricane-resilient, while retaining their character by building according to local custom and individual design preferences. Medair is providing widespread training for the local community on disaster-resilient construction techniques.

“I won’t be scared of any hurricanes in the future because the house is built to stand, even when there are heavy rains and strong winds like Sandy.”

- Madenièse Valentin, Côtes-de-Fer

The Gift of Water image
The Gift of Water

Women and children spend up to six hours a day walking up and down steep mountains for water in Côtes-de-Fer. Bringing WASH to this region changes lives. Our activities include:

  • Building household rainwater harvesting tanks and latrines
  • Promoting hygiene
  • Supporting communities to build their own latrines and become open-defecation free

“Things have changed for me. I have more water to drink, to cook with, and to wash my clothes with. I can bathe whenever I like. My misery to get water is ended.”

- Sansélie Jacotin, 69, Côtes-de-Fer. 

Emergency Food Assistance: Repairing Roads and Water Points image
Emergency Food Assistance: Repairing Roads and Water Points

In Côtes-de-Fer, Medair is ensuring that families have enough food to survive to recover from the devastation left by Isaac and Sandy. We are providing local residents with cash in exchange for working to repair roads that were washed away and water points that were damaged in the storms. To reduce future flood damage, we are also building flood control structures while doing the road repairs.  

Families can use the cash to buy food and avoid taking on unsustainable debt. For the most vulnerable Haitians who are unable to work, we are providing them with cash distributions to buy food.

Shelter Needs from Hurricane Sandy image
Shelter Needs from Hurricane Sandy

In Côtes-de-Fer, Medair is helping ensure that 200 of the most vulnerable displaced families affected by Hurricane Sandy have safe shelter. We are building disaster-resilient transitional shelters, repairing homes, and giving building supplies and construction training to people so they can repair and strengthen their own homes.

Core Activities

  • Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene icon

    Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene

    WASH saves lives by stopping the spread of disease. In a crisis, few things are more important than safe water, sanitary latrines, and good hygiene.
  • Shelter and Infrastructure icon

    Shelter and Infrastructure

    Safe shelter is at the very core of human survival and dignity. Infrastructure like roads, bridges, schools, and clinics help communities recover from crisis and build a better future.

Listen to the interview of Rita McIntyre, Project coordinator in Haiti - UCB Radio.

Click here to download the fact sheet for our programme in Haiti.