CRS in Haiti

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Achievements in Haiti

Thanks to your support, in the 3 years since the January 2010 earthquake, Catholic Relief Services has helped put Haitians back on track:

Community Resettlement—CRS and our local partners helped more than 10,500 families resettle in Port-au-Prince, providing transitional shelters; clean water; sanitation; protection (such as safety measures for women and children); education; rubble removal; livelihoods and house repairs.

Rubble Removal—Using hand-powered rubble crushers supplied by CRS, communities removed almost 1.5 million cubic feet of earthquake rubble. Nearly 389,000 cubic feet of this rubble was recycled and used for foundations of more than 4,500 transitional shelters and 300 latrines.

Food—Immediately following the earthquake, CRS provided 10 million meals to more than 1 million people in affected areas.

Shelter—Together with local partners, CRS constructed more than 10,500 transitional shelters. These sturdy but modest, quake- and storm-resistant buildings enable people to return to their neighborhoods. We also built 10 transitional classrooms for two schools in Port-au-Prince.

Camp Closures—CRS successfully closed four camps, resettling 100 percent of the families living in each camp. The CRS camp resettlement project included life-skills training and psychosocial support, and two innovative and successful approaches that other organizations, including the United Nation's International Organization for Migration, are looking at adopting.

Medical Care—Some 71,000 patients were treated at hospitals and clinics, including more than 1,000 emergency surgeries. In partnership with the Catholic Church and the Haitian Ministry of Health, CRS has begun the reconstruction of the St. François de Sales Hospital into a modern medical facility.

Cholera Response—CRS constructed cholera treatment units, medical incinerators, laboratories and medical storage facilities for a network of seven partner hospitals. CRS and our partners provided soap, water purification tablets and hygiene guidance to almost 450,000 families. We handed out more than 41,000 cholera kits and sanitized almost 250,000 homes. We trained some 2,264 community health workers and 905 civil protection committee members in cholera awareness and treatment. They, in turn, passed their expertise onto nearly 31 million people at training sessions in the community.

Water and Sanitation—CRS installed or repaired 2,397 sanitation facilities (sinks, latrines and related plumbing) in 12 camps and five neighborhoods 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 in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. CRS also constructed or repaired 3½ miles of drainage canal.

Education—CRS supported the Haitian Episcopal Commission for Catholic Education to conduct a nationwide assessment of all Catholic schools in Haiti. Results of the assessment show that the island's 2,315 Catholic schools provide education for nearly 20 percent of all students in Haiti. CRS trained 10 diocesan education offices on how to collect data and use it to better plan education improvements for these schools, including teacher training. CRS will improve education service provision through a project to establish and reinforce participatory school governance bodies, also known as school councils, in 30 schools in the Solino and Christ Roi areas of Port-au-Prince.

Employment—CRS created short-term employment for about 11,100 people (42 percent of them women) through cash-for-work activities to improve local infrastructure. Total working days were 217,630, and total income received by recipients was just above $2 million. CRS also provided some 8,000 families with $40 vouchers that allowed them to purchase seeds of their choice from local venders to recover from the loss of crops after Hurricane Tomas in 2010.

Hurricane Sandy—Immediately after the storm in late October 2012, CRS staff began distributing emergency food rations and hygiene kits to 1,850 households in the southern departments of South and Grande'Anse. CRS is also seeking funding for a comprehensive disaster response that will provide food assistance, infrastructure rehabilitation, shelter repair and temporary employment for more than 50,000 people in the southern peninsula.

Church Partnership—CRS strengthened the CRS partnership unit in Haiti and created another unit in the United States. Together, they have assisted numerous Church partners in Haiti. They have provided $1.5 million in cash and in-kind support to Church partners and have distributed $1.1 million in small grants to 180 projects in Haiti's 10 dioceses. Seven training sessions were held for U.S. dioceses on best practices in parish partnership. Together with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, CRS convened One Table, Many Partners, the first national-Catholic-Haiti solidarity conference, held in Washington, DC, June 1-3, 2012. Almost 400 people from more than 30 U.S. states attended, and every diocese in Haiti was represented.

Looking Forward

CRS and our local partners will continue our Community Resettlement and Recovery program, which aims to help more than 125,000 people (some 25,000 families) resettle in Port-au-Prince by providing transitional shelter, clean water, sanitation, protection, rubble removal and house repairs. Our business development grants and training are helping 600 people revive their businesses or start new ones. CRS is also helping people form savings groups so they can access credit to finance small businesses and take care of their families. Ten thousand Haitians are now proud members of this program—75 percent of them women.

In health, CRS, in partnership with the Catholic Health Association of the United States, is supporting the reconstruction of the destroyed St. François de Sales facility into a state-of-the-art teaching hospital. To be completed in 2014, the hospital will train doctors and nurses, while continuing to serve the poor. Meanwhile, we continue to support seven cholera treatment units and an important network of hospitals and clinics across Haiti.

The CRS-supported nationwide assessment of Catholic schools in Haiti showed that the schools educate about 20 percent of the country's children. All 10 diocesan education offices are now using the results to better plan education improvement, and CRS is actively working with the commission to find funding for priority projects, including teacher training.

We recognize that Haiti's recovery will depend on increased agricultural productivity and management of natural resources in rural areas. Therefore, CRS is promoting farming and marketing techniques that will increase availability and access to food, particularly in the southern region of Haiti. We also are supporting smallholder coffee and mango farmers' production, postharvest processing and market linkages.

With funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development, CRS and partners are also promoting maternal-child health and nutrition to address chronic malnutrition. The strategy focuses on growth monitoring for children from infancy to 5 years, counseling and training mothers on breastfeeding, complementary feeding practices, hygiene and health practices. CRS is also coordinating with local ministry of health structures for complementary services such as immunization, vitamin and mineral supplements, prenatal care and control and referrals.


How has CRS spent money donated to the agency for the Haiti earthquake?

CRS received $203 million for Haiti relief and rebuilding. Of this, $130 million came from private donors, including $50 million received from special collections for Haiti in Catholic dioceses across the United States.

As of September 30, 2012, CRS has spent more than $150 million on our 5-year-plus program of relief and reconstruction covering emergency relief, shelter, community resettlement, employment, education, water and sanitation, and health. Go to for more details on expenditures.

Why are so many people still in camps?

From some 1.5 million people in makeshift camps in Haiti after the earthquake, the International Organization for Migration estimates that more than 360,000 remain. CRS has run a successful camp closure program. We closed four camps and resettled every family in each camp.

The CRS camp resettlement project included life-skills training and psychosocial support, two innovative and successful approaches that other organizations, including the IOM, are looking at piloting. CRS also has concentrated on community resettlement: giving displaced families the option to return to their home neighborhoods. We have helped 10,500 families resettle over the past 3 years.

Those remaining in camps do not have the means to return. Special attention needs to be given to them by both the Haitian government and the nongovernmental organizations working in the camps. These people have the right to better and safer living conditions and need to be given realistic options to resettle elsewhere.

Are conditions really any better for Haitians 3 years on from the earthquake?

Yes, certainly. We've cleared a huge amount of rubble, and the government has led road and other infrastructure improvements. Many people have been able to leave camps for safer and healthier living situations. Much more needs to be done, though. Haiti is still the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, but there is tangible progress. For CRS' part in this and future plans, see above.

What are nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs, actually contributing? Have NGOs taken away from the Haitian people's ability to find their own solutions?

This is a danger if NGOs don't plan sustainable programs. Our strategy has been to engage Haitians directly in driving their own development. As one of the largest American relief and development organizations in that country, we work through a broad network of partners, including the Catholic Church in Haiti. Through these partnerships, we are working hand in hand with Haitians to help them rebuild their country better and stronger.

Our goal is to build up our local partners so that CRS is no longer needed directly in Haiti. This goal is still some way off, and we can only achieve this with the continued support and engagement of Catholics in the United States.

Go to for more information.

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