In Haiti, two years after the earthquake of 12 January 2010, Caritas Confederation members are keeping up their efforts to help the people affected by the disaster. The earthquake, measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale, caused 230,000 deaths and affected more than three million people by destroying up to 90% of infrastructures in the hardest hit areas. The generosity of people from around the world has enabled Caritas to set up dozens of projects that have played a part in rebuilding the country and improving the living conditions of Haiti’s most disadvantaged people.
After giving immediate assistance to the people affected by the earthquake (distribution of food, hygiene kits and essential items, as well as provision of temporary shelter), Caritas members have turned their attention to more long-term aid projects.
Caritas members have intervened in various areas of activity. Of course, thousands of homes have been rebuilt, which as Caritas Haiti […]
Cap Rouge, a small town in a remote rural area, is perched on a humid plateau around 10 kilometres from Jacmel, which is considered to be the major town in south-eastern Haiti.
After the earthquake in January 2010, VEDEK, a farmers’ organisation that is very active in the area, counted more than 500 damaged houses there, of which half had been completely destroyed. Therefore, VEDEK and PAPDA (Haitian Platform to Advocate Alternative Development) set up an extensive project to rebuild 100 houses and 20 cisterns in order to restore water access to affected households. The project was based on the expertise of CRAterre, an organisation specialising in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of traditional houses. Secours Catholique and CRaterre are joint signatories of a manifesto advocating the promotion of local building practices as a response to reconstruction programmes.
A process of repairing and improving housing that incorporates local know-how and new construction […]
Fednor, a farmer, is preparing what will soon be the main source of food for his family – a rice field. In Joque, in the province of Les Cayes, rice growing is the most common agricultural activity. The rice fields extend along each side of the road and provide a living for the majority of households in the area.
There’s no machinery here; everything is done by hand. Fednor is up to his knees in mud. Equipped with an old spade, he’s digging the rice field and hopes to see a crop growing soon that will enable him to feed his family and earn a little money.
He’s surrounded by other busy members of the community. Men and women are all working together on building a project that will change their lives. A break is arranged to meet the community and get an idea of what they’re doing.
“Without water there’s no […]
“When the school collapsed, what was essential was finding the children. The rest was just material,” said Sr. Josette Drouinaud of the Mère Delia Institute for primary and secondary school girls in the bustling Delmas neighbourhood of the Port-au-Prince.
When the earthquake of 12 January struck Haiti, the primary school crumbled. The students had finished classes for the day thankfully and none were inside the building. A flood of parents arrived at the collapsed school to make sure the Sisters had survived. “They were worried about us, as well,” she said.
Two years later, Development and Peace (Caritas Canada) is helping Sr. Drouinaud’s congregation rebuild a new school for a better future for the children.
By March, the primary school had managed to re-open by sharing space with the secondary school, improvising classes under trees in the schoolyard and eventually installing large tents that house up to 70 students at a time.
“When the cholera epidemic broke out in October 2010, we weren’t prepared for it. We were unfamiliar with this disease, and during the first few weeks a large number of sick people came in to see us. Things weren’t easy.” Josèphe Gerda is the head of a small healthcare centre in the remote village of Brunette, in the province of Artibonite, in the diocese of Gonaïves in Haiti.
Caritas Gonaïves runs nine clinics like this one and one hospital. The clinics are the only points of access to healthcare for people in the area. “At the height of the epidemic in November 2010, more than 20 sick people might show up on any one day,” said Dr Renald Gédéon, head of the healthcare department at Caritas Gonaïves.
Piard Jean Rico, project coordinator at Caritas Gonaïves, said, “At the outset, we weren’t aware it was cholera. We only knew it was a […]
Food security, especially that of children, is a major problem in Haiti. Caritas has put in place various initiatives in the province of Les Cayes in southern Haiti to deal with this issue. With the help of CRS, the local Caritas has set up more than 200 mothers groups. What’s a mothers group?
“As the name suggests, it’s a group of mothers from a particular district with whom local Caritas workers develop activities in order to improve families’ food security and living conditions,” explains Jean Harry Dominique, the CRS agricultural projects coordinator for the region. To get a better idea, we joined him on a field trip to Roche-à-Bateau.
Mutual financial assistance
“I’d like to set up a small business selling rice, flour an sugar. The last time I made a decent profit. I’ve asked for 1,000 gourdes (US$25) to buy products.” Ariette Tessono is speaking. She belongs to a mothers group […]
Some were trapped in rubble for hours. Other lost loved ones. Thousands saw their homes destroyed. For survivors of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, grief and pain became constant companions. As Caritas raced to get families water, food, and shelter, its aid workers realized that mental health care was just as great a need.
“More than a year after the January 2010 earthquake, many Haitians still found it hard to enter buildings,” says Boris Budosan, Mental Health Advisor for Cordaid (Caritas Netherlands). In some cases, experiencing the terrifying earthquake led to more serious conditions such as severe depression and even psychoses. Stress and anxiety were widespread, sometimes leading to violence and drug or alcohol problems.
In Haiti, there is little specialized care available to help people vulnerable to mental health problems. Cordaid, which has worked in Haiti for years, stepped into the gap. It developed programmes that help both children and adults cope […]
Available in French and Spanish By Ryan Worms “Just a little while ago, it was very hard for me to find something to eat. I didn’t feel strong, I didn’t know what to do and had no one to help me. Now I’ve got my energy back,” said sixty-year-old Olivia Jean Louis. She is part of the Caritas Les Cayes Elders Assistance and Supervision Programme set up by Caritas Haiti in partnership with Caritas Spain. We’re in the diocese of Les Cayes in Laborde in the parish of St Vincent de Paul. Fr Aldagène Louisnel, head of the local Caritas, shows us round the house that has recently welcomed eight elderly women in dire circumstances. “We’ve settled the poorest of the community’s elderly in this house,” he said. “The new programme has been in place for two months. We can feed another 25 elderly people every day as a result. […]
Jour férié à Port au Prince. Aujourd’hui, la ville commémore ses morts, nous sommes le 2 novembre.
La première visite que le chauffeur de Caritas Haïti me propose est à la cathédrale de la ville. Ce bâtiment imposant a été détruit lors du séisme du 12 janvier 2010. Il ne reste que certaines parties de la structure qui laisse imaginer la splendeur passée de la bâtisse. La façade est magnifique, quelques vitraux sont toujours perchés tout comme une des cloches que l’on aperçoit en haut d’une tour encore debout.
Lorsque vous pénétrez à l’intérieur, vous ne pouvez pas échapper à une étrange émotion. Le recueillement est de mise, la prière aussi. Ici, plus d’une centaine de personnes ont trouvé la mort. Lorsque la terre s’est mise à trembler, elles chantaient des louanges, faisaient monter leurs voix vers le ciel, la chorale majeure de Port au Prince était en pleine répétition.
De l’autre […]