Facing the challenges of permanent recovery: Haiti two years on
6th January 2012
Two years after the devastating earthquake in Haiti over 200,000 people are on the pathway to permanent housing thanks to international housing charity Habitat for Humanity.
Rosemie Dodo, 26, who is partnering with Habitat for Humanity to rebuild a permanent home said,
“I want [my children] to go to school and have a happy life. Have a better life.”
Habitat for Humanity has constructed emergency and transitional shelters, distributed shelter kits, built and repaired permanent homes and created employment opportunities.
Yet while Habitat for Humanity and other organisations have made good progress – only a third of the original 1.5 million now shelter in camps, half of the debris has been cleared, schools have been repaired and people employed – the situation is still dire.
The support of the international community is vital in meeting the challenges faced by the 500,000 people still homeless.
Land tenure remains the greatest impediment to housing reconstruction. Land ownership was a complicated matter in Haiti before the earthquake, and is more so now because of the loss of life in the tragedy.
Many deaths during the earthquake have not been formally documented, making claims on land by heirs complicated.
To build more permanent homes Habitat for Humanity and all shelter agencies need to invest time and resources in the process of obtaining land rights.
Ian Walkden, National Director of Habitat for Humanity Great Britain said,
“Habitat for Humanity has a long-term view of its work in Haiti. We are committed to remaining in the country for years to come and reaching more families in desperate need of safe and decent permanent shelter. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake our aim was to get as many people as possible into temporary shelter, but now we need to help families rebuild earthquake resistant, permanent homes.”
The earthquake on 12th January 2010 left over 2 million survivors affected, of which approximately 550,000 people are still displaced according to the International Organization for Migration.
Habitat for Humanity has a five-year project in Haiti responding to the earthquake, aiming to help 50,000 families in total.
So far Habitat for Humanity has distributed over 24,500 emergency shelter kits together with partner organisations; constructed more than 4,000 transitional or upgradeable shelters; conducted 12,000 house damage assessments; repaired more than 350 homes and constructed 150 permanent ‘core’ houses.
In addition, Habitat for Humanity is helping to build long-term growth and sustainability by hiring Haitians through the charity’s main office and Habitat Resource Centres. The charity is active in Port-au-Prince, Léogâne and Cabaret.
You can find out more or donate or take a look at more photos of our work in Haiti.
For photos, interviews or further information, please contact Eleanor Perkins, Press Officer. T: 01295 220322 F: 01295 264230. Skype: eleanor.perkins3. E: EPerkins@habitatforhumanity.org.uk. www.HabitatForHumanity.org.uk
Notes to editors
Habitat for Humanity is an international Christian charity that aims to break the cycle of poverty by eliminating poverty housing and homelessness. We believe that everyone, regardless of background, gender or belief, has a right to a safe, decent place to live. We champion that right and also take practical action, working with communities around the world to empower them to design and manage appropriate housing projects in their neighbourhood. Since 1976 we have helped over 2.5 million people.
Rosemie Dodo: Before the earthquake Rosemie rented a home in Léogane, making a modest income as a street vendor selling beauty products. The earthquake destroyed her home, along with nearly everything she owned. Rosemie spent as little time as possible inside her temporary shelter: the heat was not healthy for her infant daughter. Her seven-year-old son had to go to live with Rosemie’s mother as there was just no space for him.