JANUARY 12, 2012—Two years after the catastrophic earthquake of 2010 shook the heart of Haiti, the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (www.crwrc.org) is working consistently to help those who were hardest hit recover. Last month, CRWRC completed construction on the 2,500th home built in Leogane, near the epicenter of the quake, providing shelter and security to another, still homeless family.
“CRWRC’s response to the earthquake of January 12, 2010, has been broad and complex,” says Ken Little, CRWRC Senior Project Manager for International Disaster Response, “but our approach has always been to help rebuild the poorest families and communities whose lives were torn apart.”
CRWRC has been present in Haiti through its long-term community development partners and programs since 1975, and nimbly turned to disaster response efforts in the first days after the quake through “Sous Espwa” (Source of Hope), providing immediate emergency aid through food assistance, water, and temporary shelter to thousands of survivors.
CRWRC staff and volunteers from North America traveled to Haiti to assist in the first phase of the response, completing needs assessments and identifying Leogane as a hard-hit area that was underserved by international agencies. CRWRC’s multi-faceted recovery efforts in Leogane include distributing tarps, emergency food, and hygiene supplies; constructing latrines, wells, and homes; and psycho-social counseling and restoring livelihoods.
CRWRC will wind up much of its disaster response activities in Haiti by July 2012, although a livelihood restoration program called LEAP (Livelihoods for Earthquake Affected People in Haiti) will remain active into early 2014. LEAP is a 3-year program to help Leogane residents become self-sufficient by restoring income earning activities and assets. This includes mirco-loans to merchants, small business support and training, and agriculture rehabilitation including small animal distribution.
In a recent national radio broadcast in Haiti, a representative of local government official Gerard-Trouin said he regarded CRWRC a model program for disaster rehabilitation work in Haiti, and noted that a goat distribution program in his district allowed many residents to remain in their communities rather than migrate to the capital to look for work.
“At the two-year mark, it’s amazing and gratifying to see CRWRC-constructed latrines, water pumps, and houses in Leogane that are sheltering over 12,000 people who had lost their homes in the earthquake,” says Wayne de Jong, CRWRC Director of Disaster Response and Rehabilitation.