Haiti Earthquake 2010: Four Years On
The devastating Haiti earthquake in 2010 resulted in 220,000 deaths with over 1.5 million people displaced.
Over the last four years, amidst the overwhelming suffering and destruction, the Haitian people have worked tirelessly to rebuild their homes, communities and lives. The Red Cross has been a proud partner in this process, providing basic support such as food, water, shelter and healthcare as well as the long-term projects aiming to help communities meet their own needs.
Hong Kong Red Cross Actions
To support the earthquake relief operation in Haiti, the Hong Kong Red Cross (HKRC) launched an appeal on 14 January 2010. Thanks to the generous support from the Hong Kong public, over HK$64 million in donations were received and been allocated to support the relief and recovery activities in Haiti through its partnership with the International Red Cross, German Red Cross, Japanese Red Cross and Swiss Red Cross. It is expected that more than 573,000 person times benefit from the activities supported by the HKRC. Completed activities highlighted as follows:
Deployment of 13 HKRC professional healthcare volunteers from Hong Kong to Haiti to join the International Red Cross Health Emergency Response Units to provide emergency medical services in field hospitals and mobile clinics; each providing one month’s service;
Supported the International Red Cross in tracing services and restoring family links services during the emergency phase such as providing satellite and cellular phone services;
Procurement and distribution of 2,000 shelter tool kits, 5,500 hygiene kits, 5,500 buckets, 5,500 kitchen sets, 11,000 tarpaulins, 20,000 jerry cans, 70,000 mosquito nets and 10,000 health medical kits;
Water and sanitation activities including provision of safe drinking water through water trucking to at least 314,000 people daily in Port-au-Prince for 3 months, as well as restoring water points, rehabilitating damaged reservoirs and construction of latrines;
Community and school based hygiene and health promotion activities with distribution of health and hygiene materials, including 2,400 buckets, 2,400 jerry cans, and 9,600 bars of soap;
Construction of 1,200 household latrines with shower place for 1,200 households;
Rehabilitation of 205 communal water storage reservoirs to secure safe water with sufficient quantity and good quality for 1,200 earthquake affected households.
While cholera prevention is and will remain a priority health concern for the population in Haiti, water, sanitation and hygiene promotion are fundamental in contributing to the eradication of cholera. HKRC will continue to support:
Rehabilitation and reconstruction of 600 household rainwater harvesting system;
Supported community-based disaster risk reduction activities benefiting approximately 16,000 people in 8 communities and 4 schools, such as trainings to volunteers and community members on disaster risk reductions, strengthening the local evaluation centers, procurement and distribution of disaster preparedness kits.
International Red Cross Actions
Since January 2010, the International Red Cross has been working closely with the Haitian Red Cross to carry out relief and recovery activities in Haiti. Activities highlighted in 2013 include:
Helped more than 40,000 families (approximately 200,000 people) to find safer places to live, which is more than one third of all people re-homed by all aid-agencies;
Conducted community-based health and first aid services, hygiene promotion activities for cholera prevention;
Provided livelihood support grants or financial loans to about 81,000 families. Over 35,000 people received training and/or equipment on livelihood support. Provided support to 90 small and medium enterprises;
More than 200 community response teams are ready trained in vulnerability and capacity assessment or community-based disaster management.
Supporting Haitians to leave camps continued to be of paramount importance for the Operation. To date more than 89% of the displaced population has left transition camps. The International Red Cross continues to work with government partners to investigate options for those still living in camps.
Another major aspect of the Red Cross’s work in 2013 has been to help build community resilience to ensure people are prepared and able to withstand future disasters, including a vital cholera response plan. The disease is avoidable, and where necessary, treatable, but an effective response needs to be backed up by education. With 30,000 volunteers across Hispaniola, the Red Cross is in a unique position to make cholera elimination a reality.
The lasting legacy of the Haiti earthquake has been the weakening of communities’ resistance to the threats they face. Helping to build stronger, more resilient and healthier communities is the common thread in all International Red Cross programmes. The fundamental humanitarian concerns still facing Haiti four years after the earthquake will only be addressed through the collaboration of all partners working towards recovery. The earthquake recovery programmes will soon come to an end in Haiti but the long term impact of International Red Cross support will continue to be felt for decades.
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