Haiti: Seven years after the earthquake and three months after Hurricane Matthew

By Conrad Sauvé, President and CEO of the Canadian Red Cross

It was seven years ago that a deadly earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010. Since that day, the Canadian Red Cross has never stopped supporting the survivors and has remained present on the ground. This made it possible to support communities in the wake of other disasters, since the seven years following the earthquake were not without challenges. Haitians faced a cholera epidemic, Tropical Storm Sandy, the recent Hurricane Matthew and more.
When I visited Haiti in October, I once again witnessed first-hand the admirable resilience of the Haitian people. As one of our delegates so aptly put it, we must not forget that the Haitian Red Cross volunteers and staff are also survivors. Even though they no longer had a roof over their heads, they went to work on empty stomachs to help their fellow Haitians.
Beyond the injuries and destruction, the psychosocial impacts have left a deep mark. In collaboration with the Haitian authorities, including the Ministry of Public Health and Population, the Haitian Red Cross and our various Haitian and Canadian partners (such as the Sainte-Justine Hospital and the University of Montreal), we have implemented housing, health, violence prevention and disaster risk reduction projects to build community autonomy and resiliency.
These efforts have helped to provide safe housing solutions to more than 19,000 families, rebuild the district hospital in Jacmel, support cholera prevention for over 300,000 families and educate more than 420,000 people on interpersonal violence prevention.
Canadian aid worker provides medical care to an infant in Haiti.Since the Canadian Red Cross has been operating in Haiti for years, it had staff in the field and fully trained delegates who could be rapidly deployed in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. Thanks to support from the Government of Canada, we partnered with the French Red Cross to deploy our emergency mobile clinic and meet Haiti’s many health needs following Hurricane Matthew. The clinic gives the most vulnerable people access to much-needed healthcare. To date, clinic staff have treated more than 3,500 patients for infection, stress, anxiety, pneumonia and muscle pain. Of all the patients seen at the mobile clinic, approximately 961 were children under five. 
When we asked the humanitarian workers at the mobile clinic to share their favourite Creole word, they all chose the same one. After all, children are the future of the country!

Canadians can be proud of the difference their donations are making in the lives of the earthquake and hurricane survivors, and even prouder to know that their donations will have lasting positive effects. For the Red Cross, recovery is more like a marathon than a sprint, and we will take the time to invest wisely in long-term recovery efforts in Haiti.
To learn more about the Canadian Red Cross in Haiti, please visit our website: Haiti: Seven Years After the Earthquake.

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