Haiti: Seven years after the quake

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On January 12, 2010, an earthquake devastated Haiti, killing 230,000 and injuring more than 300,000. Immediately after the disaster, Handicap International mobilized to provide assistance to the victims. Seven years have passed and we’re still working to ensure that all Haitians–particularly those with disabilities–are not forgotten.

"Seven years after the earthquake the country is slowly getting back on its feet,” says Catherine Stubbe, Handicap International’s director in Haiti. "The population is still marked by the after-effects of the disaster. Against a backdrop of political unrest, over 46,000 people affected by the crisis are still living in 31 displaced persons’ camps made up of tents or temporary shelters. Hurricane Matthew, which hit the country on October 4, further weakened an already vulnerable population.”

Immediate relief 

In the wake of the earthquake, Handicap International mobilized approximately 600 people and deployed unprecedented resources to assist individuals affected by the disaster. We provided 90,000 people with rehabilitation care, 1,400 people with an orthopedic fitting, and 25,000 people with psychosocial support.

Sustainable projects 

Seven years after the earthquake, we continue to support the Haitian population by developing long-term projects:

  • Given the lack of local skills in rehabilitation, Handicap International set up the first training course for rehabilitation technicians. In August 2015, 72 students received their qualifications. Today, Handicap International trains rehabilitation technicians to improve the skills of professionals already working in the sector to facilitate access to high quality rehabilitation services and provide support to health structures.
  • Handicap International is working to improve protection for abandoned children living with foster families or in children's homes.
  • We provide support to more than 200 people–in particular people with disabilities­–to help them develop job skills so they can provide for their families.
  • We work with local economic development stakeholders to ensure they include people with disabilities in their work.
  • Finally, Handicap International raises awareness of road safety and trains public transport drivers in safe driving behaviors. 

Emergency response: Hurricane Matthew 

Alongside its development projects, Handicap International mobilizes teams during an emergency. In October 2016, we assisted the victims of Hurricane Matthew which affected more than 2 million people in Haiti. We implemented rehabilitation care, distributed mobility aids, and organized the distribution of emergency kits, hygiene kits, and essential household items. Handicap International also set up a logistics platform to facilitate the delivery of aid by sea and road to people living in hard-to-reach areas. Finally, we identified the most fragile members of the population–isolated heads of households, pregnant women, older people, and people with disabilities–and supported other humanitarian organizations to ensure these groups were not left behind. 

Learn more about our work in Haiti.