For many Haitians, the effects of the devastating 2010 earthquake still dictate their lives. From the beginning, CBM and local partners were involved in the response, but the strategy has always been long-term. For all programmes, CBM is working with the local organisations to build expertise and training of skilled workers in order to strengthen self-responsibility and independence.
Effects of earthquake are long-term
New crises and disasters have long ago become the focus of the world's media, but for hundreds of thousands of Haitians the devastating earthquake of 12th January 2010 still dictates their lives. Many still live in temporary shelters, are unemployed and above all marked by the physical and psychological consequences of the disaster.
Immediately after the earthquake CBM (which has been supporting projects in Haiti since 1976) provided food, water, shelter and medical care with its local partners. But from the beginning CBM strategy aimed at long-term improvement of the lives of those affected, especially persons with disabilities.
In the rehabilitation centre of the Adventist Hospital in Port-au-Prince, the holistic project approach is especially clear: Patients receive not only qualified medical assistance but physiotherapy, psychosocial support and care in their families and homes.
The trauma of the disaster will haunt many of the victims for a long time. But children and adults with physical disabilities are among those for whom there was absolutely no rehabilitation opportunity before the earthquake. With the training of rehabilitation assistants by CBM professionals, the foundation was laid for a future independent physiotherapy curriculum in Haiti.
In 2011 CBM supported around 20 projects resulting from the emergency throughout the country. In addition to the focal point of medical rehabilitation, CBM pays particular attention to the advocacy for persons with disabilities, so that the reconstruction of Haiti is accessible and can be made more inclusive. For example, French urban planner and CBM expert Benjamin Dard helped in the development of a bill for barrier-free building standards and advises CBM partners in the construction of accessible housing for earthquake victims.
Networking leads to independence
For all programmes, CBM is working with the Haitian government, Haitian self-help organisations of persons with disabilities and other organisations. This networking also helps to build up local expertise and training of skilled workers in order to strengthen self-responsibility and independence.