Haiti five years on

Five years on from the earthquake, humanitarian needs remain in Haiti

We continue to help survivors who lost everything in the 2010 earthquake rebuild their lives

By Action Against Hunger

Jan 9 2015

Five years after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, destroying its capital of Port-au-Prince, killing hundreds of thousands of people and displacing 1.5 million, our teams continue to help families rebuild their lives and overcome the worst disaster in the country’s history. 

Today, 70,000 people remain internally displaced in Port-au-Prince and largely survive in the tent camps that sprung up in the aftermath of the quake. Five years on, Haiti continues to be one of the world’s poorest counties and access to food and basic services such as education and healthcare is still limited. 

Improving livelihoods

As one Haitian mother who escaped the arid, rubble-strewn streets of the city’s centre one year after the quake to live in one of the spontaneous settlements in nearby Bourdon Valley, explains:

"The earthquake was truly an unprecedented event, a painful experience that I never want to relive. In the rainy season, we suffered from rashes. When the sun was shining, it was impossible to live under tarpaulins. Today, we continue to face many difficulties—not everything is resolved—but with the help of aid agencies at least we can take care of our basic needs. My vegetable garden installed with support from Action Against Hunger allows me to grow some vegetables to eat.”

The task of rebuilding the country remains enormous

But whilst much progress has been made, the road to helping Haitians build a better future for their children is a long one. Many essential services were already dysfunctional before the quake devastated the country and a subsequent cholera epidemic claimed hundreds of thousands lives.

As Hélène Queau, our Country Director in Haiti, explains:  "Port-au-Prince had nearly four million inhabitants before the earthquake—250,000 people died that day instantly. Reconstruction in Haiti is not just about the physical rebuilding of affected areas. The entire country was deeply affected, including state institutions, the economy, water supply systems… For this reconstruction to be sustainable and effective, we must address the structural causes that have affected the country for decades—the chronic problems that are aggravated by crises and keep the most vulnerable families in a constant state of poverty.” Nearly 6 per cent of Haitians  - 600,000 people - are still considered to be chronically food insecure.

Action Against Hunger has worked in Haiti for more than three decades and we continue to work with national institutions and organisations to deliver vital family nutrition and health services to vulnerable families. 

Find out more about our programmes in Haiti here.

 

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