On the morning of 14 August (local time) a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti. A few days later, Tropical Depression Grace made landfall in Haiti, causing further damage and destruction. Just over one month on, the Haitian Civil Protection have reported that an estimated 2,189 people are known to have died, over 12,200 people are injured, and at least 129,000 homes have been either damaged or completely destroyed.
All We Can and the Methodist Church in Britain promptly launched an appeal to support those affected. The appeal has also been supported by members of the global Methodist family, including Connexio Develop – the relief and development charity of the United Methodist Church in Switzerland – and the Otto per Mille, the agency of the Waldensian church in Italy.
The outpouring of generosity in response to this appeal has enabled All We Can, and its humanitarian aid partners in the region, to begin meeting the urgent needs of those most impacted by the earthquake. Many families in affected regions have left their homes and are sleeping outside, fearing the collapse of buildings. Water cisterns were also damaged in the quake, interrupting vital access to clean drinking water. Similarly, with many families now living out in the open, there are fears that a deadly cholera outbreak – like the one that spread following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti – may further complicate the already difficult situation many families find themselves in.
To help meet these critical needs, emergency food supplies (including rice, oil and beans), water purification tablets, sanitary equipment and temporary shelter materials are already reaching 2600 of the most impacted households in the Grand Anse and Nippes regions. Additionally, to ensure that farming households can quickly revive production, seeds and tools will be distributed for the winter agriculture season in the near future. Once immediate humanitarian needs have been met, families will need support to regain their livelihoods and focus on long-term recovery – and so efforts are already underway to plan for recovery and rehabilitation.
The response will support people like Ysmela – a 72-year-old widow, who was working on her farm when the earthquake hit. Rushing home from her fields, she found her house had collapsed – but her children, who had been in the home while she worked, were safe. Now Ysmela and her family are forced to sleep outside, as all houses in her neighbourhood are either damaged or collapsed. ‘I would like to have a place to rest my head, and be able to feed my family’ she shared.
Noel, a farmer, also feared for his children when the earthquake struck. On the morning of August 14, he rushed his family out of their house before it collapsed. One of his children was hit by falling rocks – but thankfully, all are now safe. However, the family have lost their home, and are forced to sleep outside. ‘My main prayer is that I can rebuild my house and feed my family’ he said. Noel’s family, and others just like them, now need urgent access to food supplies, clean water, and temporary shelter.
Your support will help families like Ysmela, Noels, and many more. You can also find out more about the current situation in Haiti, from David Draeger, Mission Volunteer Coordinator for the Haiti District of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas, here. Please continue to give generously to the Haiti Emergency Earthquake Appeal by visiting allwecan.org.uk/Haiti.
All images: World Renew