On 12 January 2010, an earthquake devastated Haiti. In less than one minute, almost half of the homes in Port-au-Prince and its surroundings were reduced to dust.
An outpouring of generosity by Catholics worldwide meant that Caritas could both respond to immediate needs and rebuild for the long term. On the fifth anniversary of the earthquake, here’s a look at just some of what Caritas accomplished.
Caritas Internationalis immediately launched a flash appeal, and then a larger emergency appeal. Caritas Haiti used this money to rebuild schools and homes, provide food rations and hot meals, develop clean water programmes, treat the sick and injured and restore livelihoods.
National Caritas organisations worked together through the local Church and other partners.
Caritas Germany financed dozens of projects, including reconstruction or construction of a centre for 110 elderly and disabled, of a primary school and pre-school for 400 children, of schools and residential lodging for 150 girls, of a vocational training centre for 180 young people, a medical centre for about 20,000 patients per year. Other projects included improved hygiene, cholera aid for 6,000 persons, counselling for 1.500 persons and educational and social aid for 300 street children.sidential lodging for girls, construction of a vocational training centre , reconstruction of a Caritas office and projects for improved hygiene.
Cordaid (Caritas Netherlands) provided food to 267,027 people, sent special surgical/medical teams from Amsterdam to treat 886 patients, delivered water to 3000 people, gave temporary shelter items to 6250 people, rebuilt or repaired more than 6000 houses and trained hundreds of people to provide counselling. Caritas Switzerland provided emergency aid to 43,500 people, ran cholera prevention campaigns for 75,000 people, constructed 5 schools for 2500 pupils, build 640 permanent houses for 2629 people.
Secours Catholique-Caritas France responded to immediate emergency needs, built houses, fought cholera, supported vocational training, rebuilt schools, and more. CAFOD (Caritas UK and Wales) raised more money for tents, shelters or emergency kits for 11,000 people who lost their homes. CAFOD trained farmers to create natural barriers that reduce the risk of landslides in future earthquakes.
Caritas Czech Republic helped 40,000 Haitians with education, livelihoods, Disaster Risk Reduction and cholera prevention. Caritas Italy funded 169 projects in the West, Southeast and Grand’Anse areas of Haiti.
Immediately following the earthquake, Catholic Relief Services (a Caritas member from the USA) CRS provided 10 million meals to more than 1 million people in affected areas.
Using hand-powered rubble crushers supplied by CRS, communities removed almost 1.5 million cubic feet of rubble. Nearly 389,000 cubic feet of it was recycled and used for foundations of more than 4,500 transitional shelters and 300 latrines.
CRS helped 10,500 families resettle in Port-au-Prince, providing transitional shelter—sturdy earthquake- and storm-resistant buildings that enabled people to return to their neighborhoods. CRS installed or repaired 2,397 sanitation facilities (sinks, latrines and related plumbing) in Port-au-Prince. CRS constructed 8,140 rainwater catchment units for transitional shelters, and installed 394 showers and 29 potable water tanks or inflatable water bladders. CRS also constructed or repaired 3 1/2 miles of drainage canal.
In partnership with the Catholic Church in Haiti, CRS rebuilt St. François de Sales, a 200-bed teaching hospital. CRS built cholera treatment units, medical incinerators, laboratories and storage facilities for seven partner hospitals. With partners, CRS provided soap, water-purification tablets and hygiene guidance to 450,000 families. It distributed more than 41,000 cholera kits and sanitized 250,000 homes, and trained thousands of health workers in cholera awareness and treatment.
CRS worked directly with Haitian banking institutions to develop a loan product with a reasonable interest rate that will enable low-income households to manage the reconstruction of their own homes. CRS is helping to revive the Haitian coffee industry, creating a network of six coffee cooperatives, planting 265,000 new coffee trees, and facilitating the sale of 43,000 pounds of coffee.