Earthquake in Haiti
The earthquake in Haiti in 2010 made almost 1.5 million people homeless. At the timeSwiss Humanitarian Aid carried out the largest emergency aid exercise in its history. Today Humanitarian Aid is involved in reconstruction in Haiti. If the emergency relief aid and early recovery activities are to meet priority needs, the country must, in the long term, be supported by the international community in the reconstruction of entirely new structures.
115 Swiss experts are providing medical services for over 800 women and children. They have also established about 50 drinking water points that provide up to 50,000 people a day with drinking water. Today Humanitarian Aid is involved in reconstruction. In 2011 construction began of two pilot schools in Petit-Goâve for 1000 children.
The earthquake of 12 January 2010 caused unprecedented devastation in Haiti. UN sources put the death toll at more than 230,000, with a further 300,000 injured. Nearly 1.5 million people lost
their homes and are living in temporary shelters. A great many suffered physical and mental trauma.
Humanitarian Aid and Emergency Relief
Providing care, building shelters, ensuring access to drinking water
The Swiss Confederation dispatched a total of 170 tonnes of material for relief of the victims of the earthquake of 12 January 2010. As well as tents, tarpaulins, mosquito nets, water containers and kitchen sets the airlift also brought a field hospital complete with operating tables, medical supplies and medical equipment. More than 150 experts including doctors, logistics experts and specialists in the areas of water, hygiene and emergency shelters were dispatched to the devastated areas. Due to poverty and the lamentable state of infrastructure, notably the roads and communications networks, operations in Haiti are particularly challenging and especially in terms of security, posing an obstacle to the free movement of those involved in humanitarian aid.
In the first months after the disaster Swiss doctors cared for more than 800 patients, operating in 620 cases and saving many lives. They assisted with 95 births, many of them by Caesarean section, and treated hundreds of children. The victims were able to make shelters with the material provided. Swiss Humanitarian Aid also inspected schools and put up tents to allow classes to continue. Most of the capital’s water distribution centres having been destroyed, no time was lost in getting these water points back in action.
Testimony of Suzette André, a beneficiary of Swiss Humanitarian Aid in Haiti
"Thanks to the SDC tent, we are protected from the rain"
In March 2010 the Federal Council decided to earmark CHF 36 million for the reconstruction of Haiti. An additional CHF 66 million was made available through donations to Swiss Solidarity (Chaîne du bonheur) and partner organisations.
Swiss Humanitarian Aid focuses mainly on rebuilding social infrastructure (schools, health facilities), working closely with the Haitian authorities and the international community, for example as part of the project to support the reconstruction/refurbishment of school infrastructures (PARIS). To avoid the exclusive concentration of efforts in the capital Port-au-Prince, Switzerland also supports a number of decentralised projects. Activities to reduce natural hazards and promote earthquake-resistant construction standards are an integral part of SDC projects.
Technical support and training in reconstruction
Since July 2010, Swiss Humanitarian Aid has strengthened the Cooperation Office in Port-au-Prince with a Competence Centre for Reconstruction (CCR). The overall objective is to improve the quality of projects and to strengthen local capacities by providing specific technical and methodological support to the reconstruction efforts undertaken by the SDC and its partners. The CCR helps to improve the practical skills of bricklayers and workers by developing and teaching training modules in collaboration with the National Vocational Training Institute. In addition, the CCR also supports the Ministry of Public Works in developing and disseminating key messages on simple building techniques, thereby informing and raising awareness among the general public about earthquake and hurricane resistant building methods.
Interview of Martin Weiersmüller, former head of the Cooperation Office in Haiti. 26.11.2010
Flyer "Haiti: Centre de Compétences Reconstruction - Bureau de la Coopération suisse en Haïti"
Additional Information and Documents
- Tremblement de terre en Haïti et reconstruction: factsheet
Juillet 2012, 2 1/2 ans après
Download (PDF, 418 KB) : [de] [fr]
- Evaluation SDC Humanitarian Aid: Emergency Relief
Cases: Haiti, Sumatra, Gaza and Sudan
Download (PDF, 4482 KB) : [en]
- Un seul monde
Disponible seulement en Suisse
No. 4/2011 : La planète urbaine - Un reportage à La Paz-El Alto
Download (PDF, 10799 KB) : [de] [fr] [it]
- Haïti : De l'aide d'urgence à la coopération au développement
Latin Brief Juin 2011
Download (PDF, 621 KB) : [de] [fr] [es]
- Rede von Martin Dahinden: Haiti braucht rasche Hilfe und langfristige Unterstützung
Download (PDF, 102 KB) : [de]
- Factsheet Epidémie de choléra en Haïti - décembre 2011
Download (PDF, 87 KB) : [de] [fr]
- Factsheet séisme en Haïti: Ein Jahr danach - janvier 2011
Download (PDF, 374 KB) : [de] [fr]
- Earthquake-resilient construction in Haiti