Haiti Quake Response: 5 Years Later

Children of Notre Dame du Saint Esprit Catholic School in Hinche municipality are seen on the school's patio before returning to their classes after breaktime. Catholic Relief Services is supporting education programs in Haiti by training and certifying local school teachers in better education techniques. "Education is the only way to help yourself," says teacher Maniela Dorcelus, a beneficiary. Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS

Learn more about CRS spending in Haiti.

From Immediate Relief To Long-term Recovery

Five years ago, an earthquake destroyed much of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The morning after the quake, CRS staff members were aiding survivors.

Our long experience in the country and hand-in-hand partnership with the Catholic Church in Haiti, enabled CRS to make great strides in the past five years:

  • Rebuilding St. François de Sales as a state-of-the-art teaching hospital.
  • Reinvigorating an education system for Haiti's future.
  • Laying the financial groundwork for true ownership of permanent homes.
  • Working with farmers to bring sustainable food sources back to the island.

Haiti presents immense and complex challenges that require a firm grounding in faith and long-term commitment to sustainable actions that achieve meaningful results. We have one goal: a prosperous, independent, whole Haiti.

Read more.

Five Years Later: 11 Success Stories From the Rubble of the Haiti Earthquake

  1. Immediately following the earthquake, CRS provided 10 million meals to more than 1 million people in affected areas.
  2. Using hand-powered rubble crushers supplied by CRS, communities removed almost 1.5 million cubic feet of rubble. Nearly 389,000 cubic feet of it was recycled and used for foundations of more than 4,500 transitional shelters and 300 latrines.
  3. CRS helped 10,500 families resettle in Port-au-Prince, providing transitional shelter—sturdy earthquake – and storm-resistant buildings that enabled people to return to their neighborhoods. As part of community rebuilding efforts, CRS also supported clean water, sanitation, safety measures, house repairs and education.
  4. CRS installed or repaired 2,397 sanitation facilities (sinks, latrines and related plumbing) in Port-au-Prince. CRS constructed 8,140 rainwater catchment units for transitional shelters, and installed 394 showers and 29 potable water tanks or inflatable water bladders. CRS also constructed or repaired 3 1/2 miles of drainage canal.
  5. CRS created short-term employment for about 11,100 people (42% of them women) through cash-for-work activities to improve local infrastructure. Participants worked a total of 217,630 days and earned more than $2 million.
  6. In partnership with the Catholic Church in Haiti, CRS rebuilt St. François de Sales, one of the country's oldest hospitals. The 200-bed teaching hospital is 1 of 7 faith-based hospitals CRS is working with to improve the quality of health care for Haitians.
  7. Haiti's cholera outbreak killed thousands. CRS built cholera treatment units, medical incinerators, laboratories and storage facilities for seven partner hospitals. With our partners, CRS provided soap, water-purification tablets and hygiene guidance to 450,000 families. We distributed more than 41,000 cholera kits and sanitized 250,000 homes, and trained 2,264 community health workers and 905 civil protection committee members in cholera awareness and treatment. They, in turn, helped train nearly 3.1 million people in the community.
  8. CRS is the first nongovernmental organization in Haiti to work directly with Haitian banking institutions to develop a loan product with a reasonable interest rate that will enable low-income households to manage the reconstruction of their own homes.
  9. CRS conducted a first-of-its-kind survey of all Catholic schools in the country. To improve the quality of education, CRS, in partnership with the Episcopal Commission for Catholic Education and with funding from dioceses in the United States, is using that data to design programs aimed at improving quality education, including teacher training and early grade literacy programs.
  10. CRS is helping to revive the Haitian coffee industry. We have helped create a network of six coffee cooperatives, planted 265,000 new coffee trees and facilitated the sale of 43,000 pounds of coffee.
  11. CRS provided 10 Haitian dioceses with $1.1 million for 180 projects and $1.5 million to support Church partners. CRS hosted more than 50 training sessions for U.S. dioceses on best practices for parish partnership. CRS has worked in Haiti for more than 50 years and intends to work alongside Haitians for as long as needed.

Man prays on the grounds of Sacre-Coeur Church, which was destroyed in the earthquake and is currently being rebuilt by the construction unit of the Partnership for Church Reconstruction (Proche). Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS