Leaving Haiti

News and Press Release
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Six years after a devastating earthquake left Haiti in ruins, Medair has concluded its work in the country.

The earthquake that struck in January 2010 killed or injured more than 500,000 people in a matter of minutes. So many homes and buildings were damaged or destroyed that more than one million people were left homeless. Within days, Medair sent an emergency response team to assess how we could help.

Yet since then, Haiti has been hit by a hurricane, tropical storms, a massive cholera outbreak, and severe drought. Families have needed emergency relief and Medair has been able to offer continued assistance to help them recover from disaster.

While the needs remain high in Haiti today, the focus has shifted away from emergency response toward longer-term development. “We are sad to be leaving Haiti while there is clearly still much work to be done,” said Maarten Fontein, Haiti’s Head of Country Programme. “However, things have moved on from the devastating situation we found when we arrived in Haiti in 2010. Much has been achieved and so there is much to celebrate and to be thankful for.”

Here’s a look back at some of Medair’s impact in Haiti since 2010:


Medair provided safe shelter to thousands of families in the Jacmel and Côtes-de-Fer regions of southern Haiti.

  • 2,429 transitional shelters built

  • 1,331 permanent homes built

  • Over 1,000 local builders trained in disaster-resilient construction techniques

  • Over 10,500 community members received instruction on disaster preparation and safe construction methods


In the southern mountains of Côtes-de-Fer, many families needed to walk for hours a day on steep mountain paths to collect their daily water supply. Families didn’t have the proper sanitation facilities they needed to stay healthy. In response, Medair built rainwater harvesting systems and protected springs to provide safe and convenient water to families and supported families in building household latrines.

  • 803 rainwater harvesting systems installed (household and community)

  • Over 1300 latrines built


In 2012, Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Isaac caused extensive damage in Côtes-de-Fer. Medair teams repaired numerous shelters and water systems. We also ran cash-for-work projects that paid vulnerable Haitians a much-needed income to repair damaged roads and build natural resource management structures to help protect resources.


In 2013 and 2015, Medair assisted subsistence-farming families in Haiti’s southern mountains with training, seed and tool distributions and cash assistance. Frequent disasters had destroyed their crops, eroded topsoil, and left them struggling to provide for their children.

  • 2,476 households received cash assistance to survive food shortages

Although Medair must say farewell to Haiti now, we have made a lasting impact in the lives of many people in the southeast of Haiti.

“Medair has put in place a large number of better-designed and better-built homes for some of the most vulnerable families across the region,” said Medair CEO Jim Ingram after a visit in 2014. “My eyes could see the impact we have had in the joyful faces of the people and my ears could hear the many words of thanks across the southern mountains of Haiti. Medair indeed made the right choice to respond in 2010.”