Two years on, the Red Cross is helping to empower Haitians

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Two years after Haiti’s worst earthquake in two centuries devastated the country, the Red Cross is still helping Haitians recover.

The earthquake hit the capital Port-au-Prince and nearby areas on 12 January 2010, killing over 200,000 people and displacing around 1.5 million people.

The Red Cross immediately provided emergency healthcare, shelter, relief items and water and sanitation. And, over the following two years, we have built shelters, improved mass sanitation, given financial support to households and put families back in touch with each other.

Recovering Haiti

We are now concentrating on helping families to get back on their feet and regain their independence. Since January 2010, the Red Cross has given financial support to around 68,953 households. Some money has been used for rent, repairs, and school fees. As a result, approximately 17,898 children have returned to school.

The Red Cross has also given around 6,000 cash loans or livelihoods grants to help people establish or grow businesses, which stimulate the local economy.

In the last two years, the Red Cross has:

  • treated 25,090 people in 37 cholera treatment centres
  • rebuilt and repaired 29 schools and nine hospitals
  • reached 1,050,118 people through community-based health and first aid services
  • provided 179,645 households with shelter materials
  • given 19,068 households transitional or upgradable shelter
  • completed nine small-scale community infrastructure projects to reduce threats from natural hazards, providing work for 3,081 people
  • trained 3,214 community members in disaster management
  • empowered 1.2 million people with information about cholera, malaria, HIV and preparing for disasters.

Empowering Haiti

Relief and recovery after the Haiti earthquake is a massive operation – the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s largest ever in a single country. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is working with the Haitian Red Cross and many other members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, including the British Red Cross, plus other government and aid agencies.

As well as the initial disaster, we have also tackled other humanitarian challenges in Haiti over the last two years, such as Hurricane Irene and the cholera outbreak. Overall, the British Red Cross recovery programme has reached around 75,000 people – but the knock-on effect of interventions such as livelihoods grants and work around water, health, sanitation and shelter has reached many thousands more.

Recovery is progressing well

Alastair Burnett, British Red Cross recovery manager, said: “Our recovery programmes are progressing well. But it’s important to note we are only halfway through a four-year recovery plan. It takes time to clear rubble, repair broken water sources, and rebuild livelihoods, homes and community infrastructures. Half a million people displaced by the earthquake are still living in camps, and many of Haiti’s most vulnerable communities still have basic humanitarian needs which have to be met before they can begin to recover their lives and livelihoods.

“Life is a long way from perfect for many Haitians. But the significant progress Haiti has made over the last two years, and the many thousands of people whose lives we’ve helped improve, is thanks to the generosity of our donors – you really have made a difference.”