Haiti: Three Years On
GOAL in Haiti. Photo: Leon Farrell

On January 12th, 2010 Haiti was hit by a massive earthquake. More than 230,000 people were killed, 300,000 injured and some 1.5 million left homeless.

Water and sanitation, electricity and phone connections were destroyed. Houses, hospitals, health centres, schools, the local UN headquarters building and even a large prison were all brought down.

Three years on, GOAL is continuing to rebuild lives, while also working with communities to find sustainable solutions to long-standing housing, water, sanitation and livelihood issues that were exasperated by the earthquake. The country was already considered the poorest in the western hemisphere before the disaster took place.

At the height of the crisis, the 1.5 million people left homeless were living in 1,555 temporary camp sites. As of October 2012, more than 1,142,200 of these people (about 76 per cent) have been housed. GOAL has played a significant role in helping thousands of these people get back on their feet.  

In excess of 357,750 people are still living in 541 camps throughout the earthquake-affected region. However, this only takes into account those residing in registered camps. It is thought that another 100,000 people are living in unregistered settlements. GOAL is continuing to work hard to reduce the number of people still without a permanent home.

An outbreak of cholera that took place in October 2010 had a further devastating effect on some of Haiti’s poorest communities. At last count, almost 600,000 cases and more than 7,500 deaths have been reported. Cholera cases spiked again following tropical storms Isaac and Sandy, with nearly 4,000 new cases and 29 deaths reported in the week after the latter storm struck in late 2012.

In addition to providing food for almost 500,000 people; distributing emergency and transitional shelters; injecting more than $13.5 million into the local economy through a cash-for-work rubble clearance program and constructing more than 800 latrines and 200 wash-blocks (all of which you can read more about here), GOAL’s completed work in Haiti has included:

•    the distribution of 10,896 cholera kits, the upgrading of water sources, sanitation facilities and the improvement of general hygiene in 20 different settlements

•    the establishment of community-based cholera response structures in three of the most vulnerable urban communities

•    the closure of four camps and the safe relocation of 116 families (approximately 575 people) that were displaced by the earthquake

•    the rebuilding or repairing of 135 homes damaged by the earthquake

•    the immediate distribution of shelter, hygiene and water treatment supplies to families most affected by tropical storm Sandy and Hurricane Isaac.

With a strong team of four international and more than 80 national staff, GOAL is continuing to help improve the lives of some of those who most require our help in Haiti. Our current work includes:

•    working to reduce the number of people still living in temporary camps

•    supporting communities to regenerate and improve their neighbourhoods

•    helping to improve standards in the construction sector to ensure that buildings are more resistant to natural disasters such as earthquakes

•    working to eradicate cholera from the communities in which we work

•    supporting and improving farming techniques, and helping small-scale entrepreneurs set up and develop their businesses

Thank you to all those whose contributions have allowed us to complete, and continue with, this vital work.

For more background and information on GOAL’s activities in Haiti, please click here.
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