Haitians clearing rubbble. Photo: Oxfam
Oxfam reached more than 1.2 million people with aid

Haiti earthquake: 4 years later

“We are committed to long-term recovery support for Haitians.”

Oxfam highlights advances to Haiti´s reconstruction and calls for public engagement and international aid to address ongoing humanitarian and development challenges

January 12, 2014, marks the 4th anniversary of the devastating 7.3 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti. More than 220,000 people were killed and over 300,000 injured. The earthquake also left more than 1.5 million people homeless, and resulted in immense humanitarian crisis, highlighting long-lasting development challenges, including a cholera outbreak that started in October 2010, and several tropical storms.

Major challenges remain

Now four years later, major challenges remain for Haiti to continue on the road to recovery. According to the United Nations 817,000 Haitians still need humanitarian assistance, due to poor living conditions and heightened risks of forced evictions from the remaining 306 camps. Also, food insecurity, malnutrition, and the current cholera epidemic contribute to the needs to be met by humanitarian and development aid. Specifically the cholera epidemic persists as an important public health crisis as Haiti hosts half of the world´s suspected cholera cases.

Progress on recovery

On the other hand, thanks to the determination of the Haitian people and their government, the generosity of the public and governments around the world, notable progress has been made. 89 percent of the displaced population have left the camps, cholera incidence has dropped in 50%, and the abilities of the Haitian authorities to coordinate humanitarian aid in emergencies have also improved.

Haitians are working towards a new future rebuilding effective governance structures through a greater involvement of women leaders, civil society organizations, government institutions and private sector in reconstruction plans and risk management programs.

Oxfam is there

As a result, Oxfam´s current work in Haiti is focused on longer-term development, promoting sustainable change. All programs are based on the following rights´ based aims:

  • The right to life and security: facilitating safe and decent housing in healthier and safer communities.
  • The right to a sustainable livelihood: strengthening food security through agricultural livelihoods programs, focusing specifically on small farmers and women-led enterprises, and emphasizing climate change resilience and awareness.
  • The right to essential services: building stronger and healthier communities by supporting the construction of long-term sanitation services;
  • The right to be heard: supporting community groups and women leadership at community level to strengthen their links with government authorities and local NGOs, through empowering and engaging activities.
  • The right to an identity: facilitating opportunities for displaced Haitians, especially women, to reintegrate into the society-at-large.

During the first year of our humanitarian response we helped 500,000 people, through providing access to sanitation and water in camps, supporting protection programs for victims of gender based violence, and promoting livelihood creation through cash for work programs and support to small-scale enterprises.

In 2011, we made a transition from emergency response to longer-term rehabilitation and development-focused programming, gradually leaving the more than 120 camps where we had been working. We handed over most of our water and sanitation (WASH) programs to trained water committees and established alternative WASH provision mechanisms in all the camps we exited. We continue to monitor the camps in order to respond if the need arises and we do regular training with water committees.

In 2012, we reached 325,000 people through working in communities rather than camps, and identifying and engaging with Haitian organizations as partners in initiatives to strengthen citizen participation.

We also responded to tropical storms Isaac and Sandy, through distributions of seeds and other materials to farmers and cholera prevention activities.

Furthermore, in order to try and reduce Haiti´s vulnerability to future natural hazards, we continued our work in disaster risk reduction by creating and training local protection committees and rehabilitating irrigation canals.

Blog: How Oxfam helped families get back on their feet with work projects, grants and loans

Oxfam media contacts for interviews, visits and pictures:
French, English, Creole: Roxanne Paisible, rpaisible@oxfam.org.ht, +509 3701 5984.
Spanish and English: Tania Escamilla, tescamilla@oxfam.org.uk, +52 1 55 4181 3147

Explore Oxfam's response to the Haiti earthquake

View Oxfam in Haiti in a larger map

Haiti earthquake response: thank you

After the earthquake, we raised approximately $98 million for our three-year earthquake response program. A further $8 million was raised in 2011, bringing the total to $106 million.

This is a significant amount, but with all of the continuing challenges in Haiti – like the cholera outbreak and destructive hurricanes and limited government capacity to handle these challenges – there is still a financial need.

In 2013, Oxfam’s total budget was $18.9 million. These funds were spent on humanitarian and development programs in water and sanitation, livelihoods, protection and urban development. Our programs reached 1,836,585 direct beneficiaries and 328,627 indirect beneficiaries.

We have been working in Haiti since 1978. At peak we had nearly 1000 staff in Haiti, 90 percent of them Haitian. This was down to about 330 staff by January 2013, with the same percentage of Haitian.

We have worked with over 100 community organizations in the implementation of our programs.

Read more

Photos: 3 years after the Haiti earthquake

Oxfam Haiti response update 2012

Oxfam Haiti Progress Report for 2011

An economic lifeline for women in rural Haiti

Read the latest on our humanitarian efforts around the world on our Conflict & Emergencies Blog channel

Twitter: Follow @oxfam for the latest Oxfam International updates, reports, blogs and links to relevant content.

Updated 9 January 2014

Despite violence surrounding the recent elections, Oxfam is currently reaching nearly 700,000 people with lifesaving clean water, sanitation services and hygiene education. Our staff are working around the clock to stop the spread of cholera in Port-au-Prince, central Artibonite, and northern Cap Haitien.

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