Earthquake aftermath

07/06/2011

DEC members were faced with the need to rapidly help very large numbers of injured and homeless people during the emergency (which led to more deaths than the larger quakes in Chile that year and Japan in 2011) as vast numbers of poorly constructed concrete buildings collapsed.

The massive destruction of buildings, which were often perched on steep slopes, led to high numbers of dead, injured and homeless people in the poorest country in the western hemisphere.

As well as creating a huge level of humanitarian need, the devastation also destroyed much of Haiti’s infrastructure, severely hampering the response efforts.

Our member agencies, some of whom had lost members of staff and also suffered damage to their facilities, massively scaled up their operations and concentrated on supplying emergency shelter to people close to their ruined homes in Port au Prince and surrounding areas, which were choked with millions of tons of rubble.

Ahead of the arrival of the worst of the rains and the hurricane season, heavy tarpaulins were supplied to a vast population living in cramped conditions.

Cholera broke out in October in an area not affected by the earthquake and spread rapidly, infecting more than 216,000 people and leading to the deaths of more than 4,000.

Seven DEC agencies concentrated on ensuring the supply of clean water and toilets and preventing the disease through campaigns to improve hygiene. Some engaged in providing medical care.

Conditions for many people remain very difficult in Haiti, but our member agencies have continued to provide lifesaving help.

Factbox:

Emergency shelter for 280,000 people.

Safe water for 372,000 people.

Health consultations for 186,000 people.