Together for Haiti - one year after the earthquake

January 14, 2011

© Gil Corre

On Tuesday, January 12, 2010, an earthquake of magnitude 7.3 struck the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince with its population of three million. This is one of the largest natural disasters of the twenty-first century, and it occurred in one of the world’s poorest nations. During this disaster, over 220,000 people died and 310,000 were injured. Three-quarters of the city was destroyed, forcing 1.3 million survivors to live in makeshift shelters. Even today, more than a million people - including about 380,000 children - still live in overcrowded camps on a total of 1,241 sites according to the United Nations.

Last October, an outbreak of cholera struck Haiti. Beginning in a region that had not been affected by the earthquake, the disease spread rapidly to all ten departments, leaving more than 3,300 dead in just a few weeks according to the Haitian Ministry of Health (December 31, 2010).

© Gil Corre

Already nearly 150,000 cases have been identified and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), a branch of the World Health Organization (WHO), anticipates some 400,000 new cases in the next twelve months.

Against a backdrop of political crisis, this is a painful anniversary for people who have nevertheless demonstrated extraordinary resilience as they await the very slow-moving reconstruction of their country.

The needs are enormous and pose unprecedented logistical challenges. One year on, our six partners have delivered an initial assessment: