Haiti: Safe from the snakes

Francois Tifabe and his family in their new shelter. Credits: Cordaid

Francois Tifabe and his family in their new shelter.
Credits: Cordaid

Cordaid – Caritas Netherlands 

Francois Tifabe was walking through an alley near his home on 12 January 2010 when the ground started to shake. Before he understood what was happening a nearby wall collapsed and the debris fell on his leg.

“I still feel the pain and need a stick to walk,” said Mr Tifabe, pointing to his injured leg.

On returning home, his worst fears were confirmed. His house had totally collapsed in the earthquake. However, he was relieved to find that his wife and five children had survived.

Bad times followed in the months after the earthquake. The family went to live in a camp. Following the earthquake, over one million people were without a home. They slept anywhere: in camps, in the street, in improvised shelters made from anything they could find.

“There were snakes crawling in the camp and the ground was wet all the time. Our tent wasn’t such good quality and I constantly wished my family was in better conditions,” said Mr Tifabe.

In November the local authorities decided to clear the camp. Suddenly, Mr Tifabe and his family found themselves homeless again.

Not long after the earthquake, Cordaid (Caritas Netherlands) launched a project to provide up to 10,000 temporary houses to families who had lost their homes in the earthquake in areas of Port-au-Prince and Léogâne.

Mr Tifabe was chosen as one of the families to receive a house. He and his family helped clear a plot of land for the building work to proceed and now they are waiting for the house to be finished.

“This house means so much to me; it feels good that we’ll have our own place again,” said Mr Tifabe.

Caritas Internationalis

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Secretary General: Michel Roy

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