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Earthquake Overview

In the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, USAID has provided relief, recovery and long-term reconstruction assistance:

Relief (rapid, life-saving emergency assistance):
  • Search and Rescue: Deployed seven search-and-rescue teams as part of an international rescue effort that saved more than 130 lives.
  • Emergency Food Assistance: Provided emergency food relief for nearly 4 million people in the first three months after the earthquake, the largest emergency food distribution ever.
  • Water: Provided safe drinking water for up to 1.3 million people daily following the earthquake.
  • Sanitation: Installed more than 11,500 latrines and 25 water systems.
  • Emergency Shelter: In cooperation with international partners, provided basic shelter materials to 1.5 million people in the five months after the earthquake (prior to the start of rainy season).
  • Cholera: Rapidly responded to the cholera outbreak in cooperation with the CDC and the GOH. The number of cholera deaths has declined dramatically---from 4,101 deaths in the three months following the outbreak in 2010 to only 32 deaths in 2014. The 2014 case fatality rate is just .4 percent--- well below the international standard of 1 percent.
Recovery (bridging the gap from emergency assistance to reconstruction):
  • Cash-for-Work: Employed more than 350,000 people (about half of whom were women) in the first year after the earthquake through short-term, cash-for-work jobs, injecting more than $19 million into the local economy.
  • Rubble Removal: Cleared more than 2.7 million cubic meters of rubble out of the 10 million cubic meters of rubble created by the earthquake.
  • Shelter Solutions: Provided shelter solutions for more than 328,000 people.
  • Education: Constructed over 600 semi-permanent classrooms, allowing 60,000 students to return to school.
  • Coordination and Planning: Supported the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, the planning body for the Haitian recovery.
Reconstruction (promoting sustainable, long-term development, requiring in-depth exchanges with new partners and Government of Haiti officials to design and implement projects):
  • Housing/Settlements: Completed permanent housing near the Caracol Industrial Park and north of Port-au-Prince. Partnering with other donors and NGOs in constructing housing in three additional locations. Increasing access to housing finance as well as providing community development support to ensure sustainability of these settlements.
  • Energy: Constructed a 10 megawatt power plant, with potential expansion to 25 megawatts, for the Caracol Industrial Park in Haiti’s north and rehabilitated five electrical substations in Port-au-Prince. USAID’s Improved Cooking Technologies Program is establishing local markets for clean cooking stoves and an industry to sustain it.
  • Economic Security:  Supporting access to basic financial services (via financial institutions) to over 500,000 clients, particularly in the rural and agricultural areas. Made available approximately $5.8 million in technical assistance, commodities, and loan capital to 20,000 micro-enterprises.
  • Food Security: Introduced improved seeds, fertilizer, and technologies to more than 70,000 farmers; these increased rice yields by 139 percent, corn yields by 448 percent, bean yields by 95 percent, and plantain yields by 56 percent in 2013. Strengthened agricultural markets by reducing post-harvest losses, rehabilitating rural roads and linking producers directly to markets. Increased the total sales by farmers supported through Feed the Future West from $7 million in 2010 to $12.9 million in 2013.
  • Health: Provide access to basic medical care to approximately 50 percent the Haitian population through our support of over 160 clinics nationwide.  Immunizations (for children against rubella, polio, measles, as well as diphtheria, whooping cough, and tetanus) being implemented at our facilities reach 85 percent of children, well above the national average of 45 percent.  
  • Education: Developing an innovative, evidence-based early-grade reading program that aims to eventually reach more than one million children nationwide as other partners extend the use of the program’s reading curricula and training methods beyond the development corridors.
  • Disabilities: Provided support to address different aspects of inclusion and provision of better and more accessible care for persons with disabilities. These aspects strengthening the legal framework, strengthening the voice of people with disabilities, rehabilitation and reintegration as well as specialist training for disabilities technicians. We have also increased physical access for disabled students and teachers in 19 primary schools and funded St. Boniface Spinal Cord Injury Center.
At present, USAID is guided by the U.S. Government Post-Earthquake Strategy (pdf) to support sustainable reconstruction and long-term development in Haiti. The strategy follows the Government of Haiti’s Action Plan For National Recovery and Development of Haiti. We are working closely with a number of other U.S. Government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Treasury, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Department of State—including the U.S. Embassy's Narcotics Affairs Section. Working with these agencies, we are better able to support a comprehensive approach to implementing four key pillars for development: infrastructure and energy, food and economic security, health and other basic services, and democracy, governance, and rule of law.

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Last updated: April 21, 2016

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