Caritas Czech breathes life into Duval
20 December 2012
The rural community of Duval sits high in the mountains above Port-au-Prince but its remoteness did not mean that it was spared from the terrible earthquake that hit Haiti on 12th January 2010.
“When it happened, we were working,” says Serelien Fritzner, a farmer and carpenter from Duval. “The house we were working on collapsed, so did many others. We were scared because we didn’t know what was happening. Later we heard that many people had died.”
Mr Fritzner lost family and friends in both the earthquake and a landslide it triggered. He also lost his home and couldn’t send his children to school as the building had collapsed.
“We no longer had houses to stay in and everyone was in the street and eating poorly,” says Marie-Rose Kebreau, one of Mr Fritzner’s neighbours.
Furthermore, Mr Fritzner and others no longer had access to clean water after springs and pumps were damaged. This problem became much more serious when a cholera epidemic broke out in October 2010.
Caritas Czech witnessed how the earthquake had destroyed Duval and had made the community, which consisted largely of farmers, livestock herders, carpenters and small business owners, vulnerable to numerous difficulties.
Caritas Czech staff met with local leaders to discuss how to bring stability back to Duval. The first step was to rebuild the two schools which were destroyed in the disaster. This was important so that children could continue their education and the community had a place in which to worship and meet and discuss future steps.
Once the schools were complete, Caritas Czech started to work with Caritas Port-au-Prince and other partners to help Duval and the surrounding communities of Savane, Desgourdes, Lespinasse and Duvier. They focused on cholera education and prevention.
Caritas provided families with hygiene kits and in-home water treatment filters to clean their water supply. They also gave training and medical supplies to local health centres. The aim was to give communities both the resources, but also the knowledge, to protect them from cholera.
“Water was the biggest problem because people were drinking bad water which was making them sick,” says Mr Fritzner. “But because Caritas helped us the water is now safe and people get sick less often.”
Duval and the surrounding villages suffered a lot because of the earthquake and the cholera epidemic. However the combined efforts of Caritas Czech and its partners, along with the perseverance of the local people, communities have made large strides in pushing forwards with recovering from the disaster.
Mr Fritzner is now back at work and Mrs Kebreau, who lost her husband in the disaster, can send her children back to school.
Mr Fritzner still uses the bio-sand filter given to him by Caritas Czech. He says of the help his community has received, “We would like Caritas to do the same work they did in Duval in other neighbourhoods because there are many places in need just like Duval. May God continue to bless you and keep you healthy, so you can continue to help others do the same.”
Caritas Czech snapshot
How Caritas Czech Republic helped immediately after the earthquake:
Two temporary schools in Duval and Desgourdes built and equipped with toilets for 450 children.
4,640 tents and 18,221 hygiene kits
One nursery built for 560 children
130 mobile clinics set up to combat cholera decease
School equipment for 350 children
2000 families got hygiene kits and water filters
Long-term development projects:
1000 farmers trained in sustainable agriculture
1000 cattle breeders educated in the care of domestic animals
Micro loans for 200 small entrepreneurs
115 tons of food distributed to school canteens
67 schools benefited from training programs on teaching methods
RESOURCESAnnual Report 2011Emergency GuidelinesEmergency Response Tool KitEmergency Appeals 2012Emergency Appeals 2011Emergency Appeals 2010Emergencies on Caritas BlogBridging the Gap between Policy and Practice