An overview of Oxfam’s humanitarian response to the Haitian earthquake
In years of responding to disasters, the destruction and logistical challenges caused by Haiti’s earthquake which struck on 12 January 2010, were among the worst Oxfam has ever encountered. Our Haiti response (coordinated from a makeshift office in a battered hut after our Port-au-Prince office had been destroyed) has been a story of obstacles overcome.
As with the Asian Tsunami emergency almost five years earlier, public support for the Haiti disaster was overwhelmingly generous, with over $US 98 million raised to fund Oxfam’s humanitarian response. This report shows how Oxfam has utilized this earthquake response fund to help hundreds of thousands of people cope in the days, weeks and months following the disaster.
One year later, Oxfam has achieved considerable success in a context of overwhelming ongoing human need. At the time of writing, we have reached over 500,000 people with our earthquake response program, and a further 700,000 people with activities to prevent the spread of cholera.
- Oxfam will build on established relationships with local communities and organisations to focus our work on the most vulnerable people in society, particularly women, girls, elderly and disabled people;
- We will move from delivering water by tankers to working with government authorities to provide longer-term solutions to help communities gain sustainable water, sanitation, and waste management services;
- We will invest a variety of initiatives to help Haitians rebuild their lives and their sense of self-reliance such as: investing in new and recovering small businesses, promoting innovative local design solutions for the building of new homes, and encouraging links between small-scale farmers and consumers to increase access to locally grown food;
- We will promote and support more sustainable agricultural practices in Haiti, making use of technologies that protect the environment, and helping people to prepare for, and adapt to, a changing climate in which weather patterns are more unpredictable;
- As we implement recovery and reconstruction programs over the next two years, we will continue to press for a just and sustainable rebuilding strategy in Haiti, led by the government and with meaningful participation of civil society, including community and religious leaders and local and international NGOs.