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Relief and Reconstruction in Haiti

December 2, 2011

By Simon Chambers

The numbers were staggering as the world watched the aftermath of the 7.0 magnitude quake whose epicenter was in Léogâne, Haiti on January 12, 2010:

  • 3,500,000 people were affected by the quake, including
    • 220,000 dead
    • 300,000+ injured
    • 2,000,000+displaced
  • Over 180,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, leaving 1,500,000 homeless
  • 4,000 schools were damaged or destroyed

Immediately, PWRDF””through the ACT Alliance“”responded to the disaster. In the first year, PWRDF contributed $750,000 of the $100 million ACT received for its work, which assisted over 600,000 people. ACT’s relief efforts included having over 70 water points established around Port-au-Prince within 48 hours of the earthquake, providing food for over 85,000 people, health and hygiene kits to over 75,000, over 8100 households provided with emergency shelters, and over 20,000 people who received livelihood support. ACT’s work in water provision involved the distribution of 14 billion purification tablets, close to 500,000 rehydration doses, and training over 375,000 people in cholera prevention.

Delivering the steel frame for a new home in Haiti Photo: Simon Chambers

PWRDF also contributed $250,000 to the Episcopal (Anglican) Diocese of Haiti, which supported 100,000 people through its efforts. The Rt. Rev. Jean Zaché Duracin, Bishop of Haiti, said: “As we look back, we take pride in that number and in what we have been able to do for those within our churches and for whole communities. We also take pride in what those within our churches and our communities have done for one another. This past year the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti has called people to action, so that together all may work to make Haiti rise up and move forward.”

As the relief phase of the earthquake began to move into the reconstruction phase, PWRDF’s focus shifted from the immediate needs to longer-term ones: shelter, education, and sustainable food production.

Working with the Centre Diocésain de Développement Intégré et de Secours (CEDDISEC) of the Diocese of Haiti, PWRDF provided 70 transitional shelters in the community of St. Matthieu. These homes are 6m X 3m, have two windows, and include the construction of a toilet and bathroom separate from the home, as well as the provision of two mosquito nets to help prevent malaria. Transitional shelters are designed to have a lifespan of five to seven years, and can be expanded or maintained by the families as they have the resources to do so.

PWRDF is also involved in urban agriculture work with CEDDISEC. 300 families around Port-au-Prince are involved in a pilot project where they are provided with planters, seeds, and training to grow vegetables and herbs on their balconies, in the shells of their old houses, or wherever else they have space to grow. All the families have children under the age of five who are suffering from malnutrition.

Another project that PWRDF is involved in which is helping to ensure that hungry children have enough to eat is the school feeding program being done in partnership with Finn Church Aid (another member of the ACT Alliance) and the Bureau Anglican de l’Education en Haiti (BAEH) of the Diocese of Haiti. Through this program, 8000 students at 33 schools are provided a hot lunch of rice and beans each school day””often the only meal they will get that day.

Over the next several weeks, a series of articles will highlight different parts of these programs as the second anniversary of the quake approaches. These articles will culminate in an article looking at the future of PWRDF’s work in Haiti as it continues to explore ways to support the people of Haiti through partnership, accompaniment, and development.