Rapid Needs Assessment of People in Pestel, Grand’Anse department, Haiti – October 2021

Originally published



On August 14 2021 a powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck south-western Haiti affecting at least 800,000 people and resulting in 2,200 deaths and more than 12,700 injured. The commune of Pestel, which was only a few kilometres away from the epicentre of the earthquake, was one of the worst-affected areas. Currently large parts of the town of Pestel are in ruin and surrounding areas have been significantly affected. As highlighted by this assessment, many of those interviewed currently reside in temporary structures, with others living in homes which are significantly damaged. Many have lost loved ones, causing huge emotional distress, and/or have suffered injuries themselves. However, insufficient support has been provided by the Haitian government and international actors. This is in part due to the political and security challenges, but it's also symptomatic of an area which has been historically marginalised.

This rapid needs assessment (RNA) was conducted to provide a snapshot of the multi-sectoral needs of people within the commune of Pestel following the earthquake. The assessment was conducted in September 2021 by Church World Service (CWS) with technical support from HelpAge International. It is intended to enable CWS and others to identify the main urgent humanitarian needs; to review and adapt programming to respond to the findings; and to provide advocacy messages to the humanitarian sector and the national government.

Key findings

  • 77% of people interviewed ranked shelter reconstruction and repair as their top priority with 38% reporting that their homes had been destroyed and 54% that their homes had been damaged.
  • 74% do not have access to sufficient food with 21% going hungry 3 to 5 nights per week and 66% 1 to 2 nights per week.
  • 87% reported they do not have access to clean and safe drinking water with 80% of people having to pay for water out of their own pockets.
  • 97% reported they had a least one health condition. The most common conditions reported were joint aches and pains (77%), heart problems (60%) and cataracts (56%).
  • 89% feel unsafe and insecure where they live. 83% highlighted that they did not feel safe accessing food.
  • 65% reported that they feel anxious all or most of the time. 61% reported feeling isolated all or most of the time.
  • 51% of those who are caring for children felt that they were not ready to go back to school.