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 October, 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 January 2010, one of the deadliest earthquakes in recorded world history struck Haiti. In one terrible moment, 222,570 Haitians lost their lives and more than 1.5 million lost their homes. Even as communities have worked hard to recover, they have also had to contend with a massive cholera outbreak and ongoing devastating hurricanes.
Years after the earthquake, shelter remains a major priority. As we work alongside Haitians – who struggle with high levels of poverty and unemployment – 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.
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.
This remote, mountainous region is so difficult to reach that it has largely been neglected. More than one year after the earthquake, it had received minimal assistance despite sustaining heavy damage. In addition, women and children walk for hours to collect water, and open defecation is widely practiced. Tropical storms destroy homes and crops and wash away roads, making families even harder to reach. In autumn 2012, Tropical Storms Isaac and Sandy left a trail of deep devastation in these communities.
After the 2010 earthquake, Medair built sturdy transitional shelters for homeless families in Jacmel and La Montagne. We are upgrading some of those shelters into earthquake- and hurricane-resistant permanent homes for the most vulnerable families.
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-resistant, while retaining their character by building according to local custom.
“I had never lived separated from my wife for that long. Medair has helped us to build a house, and it has made our reunification possible. I am very happy to live under the same roof with my wife again.”
- Jonès Valentin, recipient of a new house in Gris-Gris
Women and children spend up to six hours a day walking up and down mountains for water in Côtes-de-Fer. Bringing WASH to this region changes lives. Our activities include:
“It would change my life if I can get access to a lot of water. It would help me to keep the house cleaner, wash clothes, and bathe more often. It would help keep us from getting bacteria and the children would have more time to study.”
- Launie Orescar, village of Boucan Bélier
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.