Haiti earthquake: Three years later

Feb 27, 2013
10-Minute Read
Above: Singing, dancing and learning in Child Friendly Spaces has brought joy to thousands of children since the Haiti earthquake. Photo: Meg Sattler/World Vision.

In the aftermath of the earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince on January 12, 2010, World Vision initiated the largest single-country disaster response in the organization’s history. Over the last three years, as the focus has shifted from emergency relief to long-term development, World Vision has helped several million Haitians.
“My grandson came to my house that day. Just as we started to eat, I felt the earth turn upside down and everything started shaking. People were screaming.”
—Silvina, 75, whose home was destroyed in the earthquake
The scope of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake was unprecedented in modern times. It affected one in three Haitians – approximately three million people – and claimed nearly a quarter of a million lives. Another 300,000 were injured and 1.5 million were left homeless. Haiti’s economy, already the poorest in the Western Hemisphere, was devastated.
Mounting an effective response in the wake of this disaster proved an enormous challenge – both for World Vision and other agencies; the damage was immense.
Response efforts were often hampered by political instability, weak governance and difficulty securing goods. Efforts to transition families out of the camps have progressed much slower than anticipated, due to the lack of a clear government framework for resettlement plans.
Committed to Recovery
Despite these and other obstacles, World Vision remains committed to Haiti’s recovery. Our goal is to build back a stronger and more resilient nation. As always, children are at the centre of our plans. We have prioritized child well-being from the start, and we will continue to strive to see that all of Haiti’s children enjoy good health, are educated for life, are cared for, protected and participating in their communities.
Seeing Through the Challenges
The Haiti earthquake challenged World Vision to find innovative new ways to obtain and distribute relief supplies and to collaborate extensively with UN agencies and humanitarian agencies. Despite political instability, World Vision worked with the Haitian government on long-term economic development and access to education. Communities are telling us that long-term shelter, livelihoods and education are their greatest needs.
Here are a few of World Vision’s key achievements from January 2010 to October 2012:
  • Helped more than 2.5 million people receive emergency food in the initial phase of the response
  • Provided emergency shelter for more than 40,000 families and long-lasting transitional shelters for over 14,600 people
  • Transitioned 2,748 households – close to 11,000 people – out of World Vision- managed camps and offered education, livelihood support, and life skills and business training to help families rebuild their lives
  • Cared for 7,700 children in 30 camp-based play and educational centres
  • Reunited over 1,000 children with their families
  • Equipped 14 hospitals with life-saving supplies, enabling them to treat 412,500 cases of injury and illness
  • Provided 2,700 people with business development training and access to start-up funding for new business ventures
  • Helped 15,000 people improve their food security while rebuilding communities through cash-for-work and food-for-work programs
  • Gave hundreds of adolescents vocational training in high-demand skills
Our Vision for the Future
As the world marks the earthquake’s three-year anniversary, World Vision’s disaster response has drawn to a close. But, our development work is far from finished. We’ve been working in Haiti for 35 years and we will continue to serve impoverished communities and children for years to come. Over the next three years, World Vision aims to help children realize our child well-being aspirations by focusing on the following areas: health, education, child protection and participation and sustainable livelihoods.
Read the full Three Years On - Haiti Earthquake Response Report, including more key achievements.