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Haiti Earthquake

Haiti Earthquake

A major earthquake struck Haiti near the capital of Port-au-Prince, on Tuesday 12 January, 2010, causing catastrophic destruction across the city of two million people in the western hemisphere's most impoverished nation.

During the 2010-2011 emergency response, Oxfam reached 500,000 people with access to drinking water and sanitation services (latrines, showers and public health promotion), supporting protection programs  for women in camps, cash-for-work programs and support for small businesses. A further 700,000 people were reached by our response to stop the spread of cholera.

To support Oxfam’s work in emergency situations, please consider a donation to the Emergency Response Fund



Oxfam is now focused on long-term development in Haiti, working with partners and the government to support the building of long-term sanitation infrastructure, employment creation through development of small enterprises, working with small scale agricultural farmers to access markets and working with communities to become more resilient to natural disasters. In 2012 Oxfam reached more than 325,000 direct and 955,000 indirect beneficiaries.

After the earthquake and thanks to the generosity of the public, Oxfam received $98 million to mount the emergency response, followed by $8 million in 2011. By the third anniversary of the earthquake in January 2013, Oxfam had spent about 96 per cent of those funds.

Thanks to the determination of the Haitian people and their government, and the generosity and solidarity of the public and governments around the world, a lot of tangible progress has been made in Haiti. However, major challenges remain.



Key Figures

  • There were about 358,000 people living in more than 500 camps in Haiti on the third anniversary in 2013. That compared to 1.5 million in 1,500 displacement camps six months after the earthquake.
  • The earthquake created approximately 19 million cubic meters of debris. It would take someone in a standard pickup truck more than 8 million trips to a waste facility to move this amount of debris. The majority of Haitians are removing the debris from their plots by hand.
  • Tropical storms Issac and Sandy destroyed 25 per cent of Haiti’s agricultural production, worth $254 million, and left farmers with little to survive on until the next harvest in May-June 2013.



Oxfam’s cash-for-work projects have given those living in camps a chance to earn an income while improving their environment by building latrines and clearing rubble.Cash in hand helps earthquake survivors to purchase what they most want and need. Those purchases in turn support local suppliers and begin to bring Haiti’s economy back to life.

Oxfam has tested “cash for work” in crises around the world and found it more effective than food distribution as long as sufficient food is available on the market. It also helps restores dignity in difficult circumstances.

STORY: Oxfam’s cash-for-work program




As we shift our focus from relief to recovery and reconstruction, we continue to work with local partners on livelihoods recovery. These activities have included community canteens, an innovative project to provide food while reviving livelihoods, run with partners in Delmas, Carrefour Feuilles and other areas of Port-au-Prince. After the success of the first 56 canteens in Carrefour Feuilles, which supported 4,480 of the most vulnerable families with hot meals each day, another 100 were opened to provide meals for 8,000 people.

STORY: Community Canteens


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