On January 12, 2010, a catastrophic earthquake, magnitude 7.0 M, struck the Caribbean nation of Haiti, with its epicenter in the most populated part of the country, approximately 16 miles west of its capital, Port-au-Prince.
Approximately 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings collapsed or were severely damaged. Much of the country’s infrastructure was damaged or destroyed, including electrical networks, communication systems, government offices, airports, roads, ports, hospitals and over 50% of the country’s schools.
The loss of human life has been incalculable. The devastation was so great and the needs of the living so dire in the days following, that an accurate count of the number killed is unavailable. Estimates varied widely, but 160,000 casualties has become the accepted figure.
Many countries and charitable organizations stepped up right away to help with relief efforts. But, the chaos of a country torn apart along with the extreme poverty of the nation prior to the earthquake created an extraordinarily difficult environment for rescue workers and organizations. The Port-au-Prince airport had a single runway and 10 spaces for large planes, limiting the ability to receive much-needed supplies. The United Nations and United States coordinated to manage airport congestion so that planes from around the world could deliver their goods. Over 20 countries provided military personnel, with Canada, the United States and the Dominican Republic providing the largest contingents.
Countries worldwide committed hundreds of millions of dollars, with the U.S. pledging $3.1 billion in humanitarian aid.
Still, the effort to rebuild Haiti has been slow. One year after the earthquake, relief and recovery activities were at a halt because of government inaction and indecision by donor countries. By 2012, two years after the quake, half a million Haitians remained homeless. By 2013, only a small part of funds pledged had been spent on new, permanent housing, with much of the released funds having been used for temporary shelter, such as tent camps. More than 270,000 Haitians were still living in over 300 camps, many without functioning toilets or access to healthcare. Access to water and sanitation remain a significant problem throughout the country. The disastrous conditions caused the worst outbreak of cholera since an epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1994, with more than 650,000 cases in the first six months of 2013, and more than 8,000 deaths. In 2013, the American Red Cross said that nearly all the money collected for the relief efforts had been spent or was committed to the development of new homes and building a new hospital.
In August, 2014, nearly 5 years after the earthquake, the World Health Organization reported that more than 104,000 Haitians remain in tent camps. Food insecurity and malnutrition is a major problem, with more than 2.5 million persons affected and 404,000 in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. Over 100,000 children are affected by Global Acute Malnutrition.
Aiding a Nation’s Recovery, One Child at a Time
The small piece of land on which No Place Like Home was built was originally intended for a Bible Institute. But as witnesses to this horrific event, the Alexandres accepted their new calling to build an orphanage instead. Since 2010, they, along with their many supporters have toiled to establish a warm and safe environment for the orphans of Haiti. Those efforts and their milestones were not achieved easily. Read the history of No Place Like Home.
No Place Like Home, which provides orphaned children shelter from the dangerous streets of Haiti, as well as food, clothing and a Christian-based education, continues its efforts to grow and expand its capabilities to serve more children. Learn how you can help the orphans of Haiti.
Find out more about the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the challenge of recovery efforts from these sources: