Yesterday, January 12, 2020 marked the tenth anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. As we look back on the past ten years, we remember those who were impacted and are grateful to the many individuals around the world who contributed to recovery efforts. Through our recovery program, Habitat for Humanity Haiti served over 50,000 families. Our work included distributing emergency shelter kits, constructing transitional and upgradeable shelters, providing home damage assessments and repairs, and training individuals in construction.
Together with President and Mrs. Carter, volunteers and beneficiaries also built 300 homes through the Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Work Project in 2011 and 2012. In 2018, we visited the Santo community to see how the families were doing. You can read more about this visit here.
Over the last ten years, great improvements have been made. However, even before the earthquake, housing in Haiti was a challenge. The Haitian government’s original action plan recognized the recovery will be a 20-30 year process. Our work in Haiti is far from over.
We remain committed to helping more Haitian families move into safe, permanent homes. We will continue to focus our long-term efforts on land tenure reform, training, capacity building and community rebuilding. This includes efforts such as:
- The Leveraging Land in Haiti project launched in 2019. This four-year project will support 12,000 families through the complicated land tenure process to secure a formal land title.
- Our ongoing response to natural disasters, including Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and the 5.9 magnitude earthquake which struck the north in 2018. In these communities, we have built over 300 new homes and repaired 1,500 homes.
- Continued construction training. We have equipped over 600 masons with simple and effective ways to strengthening their local building techniques. Many communities in Haiti have used the same construction techniques for generations. We believe improving these existing methods, instead of implementing new ones, ensures the methods will be adopted by the community.
- Disaster-risk reduction programs, which help communities to identify and reduce their vulnerability to disasters. To date, we have sensitized over 5,000 households on safe construction.
- New partnerships with universities and the private sector to develop alternative construction materials and financial inclusion methods. Ultimately, we will work to provide better, more affordable access to quality materials for low-income families.
Whether you have followed along for the past ten years or are joining us now, we are grateful for your investment in Haitian families. We remain more committed than ever in building a world where everyone has a decent place to live.