No matter where they happen, natural disasters have a devastating effect on communities. But when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, one of the world’s poorest countries, the impact was nationwide.
With the centre of the earthquake in the capital Port-au-Prince, the core of the country was virtually destroyed, water sources were ruined, roads crumbled and hospitals and important community services thrown into disarray.
In total over 3 million people were affected by the Haiti earthquake, and though the international community responded with aid efforts immediately the scale of the disaster meant that recovery would be a long time coming. But now, five years on, with the rubble cleared away life in Haiti is returning to normality.
Improving Haiti’s Future
Because the effects of the Haiti earthquake were so far reaching efforts to help people adjust and recover have touched on practically every part of everyday life.
* Emergency Aid. In the immediate aftermath water, food and shelter had to be provided as people’s homes were left in ruin and the nation’s infrastructure was left in ruins.
* Child Protection. Huge numbers of children were left orphaned, displaced and vulnerable by the Haiti earthquake. In natural disasters children are more likely to die and have an increased risk of exploitation. The creation of facilities where children could be kept safe, allowed to play, and receive care and support was vital.
* Rebuilding Schools. Across Haiti schools were closed, either due to damage to the buildings or as a result of the chaos surrounding the earthquake. Work to rebuild damaged and destroyed schools has resulted in not only a return to education for children but an increase in primary school attendance.
* Supporting Girls And Young Women. During a natural disaster girls and young women are at increased risk of abuse and sexual exploitation due to their lack of power and rights.1 To ensure that this vulnerable group were protected measures were taken to address their specific needs. Projects like the creation of youth clubs for women and girls gave a safe physical environment and also allowed girls to learn vital skills.
When Eva heard about such a club in her community she went to it immediately. She had been living in a tent with her family and relatives. “This project has rebuilt us…it took us from a state of vulnerability to a state of independence.” Eva now runs a sewing workshop and is totally independent, no longer reliant on her husband’s income.
Although Haiti has made an incredible recovery it remains in a precarious state. Economically the nation remains very poor, with high levels of poverty and infrastructure that fails to meet the needs of its population.
Plan UK continue to carry out essential work in the region. Make a donation to their fund and help the people of Haiti enjoy the future they deserve.