On August 14, 2021, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake devastated western Haiti, followed by Tropical Storm Grace just two days later causing heavy rains and flooding. Over 2,000 fatalities and 12,268 injuries were reported. 120,000 homes were damaged or wholly destroyed, and at least 650,000 people needed assistance.
IsraAID’s Emergency Response Team, made up of international and local staff – including from previous programming in Haiti – deployed within days, and carried out urgent needs assessments alongside emergency distributions of water filters, hygiene kits, and resilience kits. With a clearer picture of the needs on the ground, we then implemented wider-scope emergency response programs.
Immediately after the earthquake happened, HQ staff spoke with staff from IsraAID's former mission in Haiti 2010-2018.
"The situation here is not good and these communities were already suffering before. I am happy to see IsraAID return to the communities in which we worked in 2016 and I'm glad to join again to do this important work, in places that other organizations do not reach." - Dorismond Joseph Fils, a Haitian psychologist and former IsraAID staff member who is now part of our Emergency Response team in Haiti
In remote communities where infrastructure was destroyed, we distributed hundreds of water filters, tarps, solar lights, and hygiene kits, and provided 600 resilience kits for children. As teachers are often the most well-known community leaders, we trained teachers to use water filters. Watch our Emergency Response Coordinator explain in Creole how to install and operate the filters to a group of teachers here.
IsraAID trained 25 local facilitators to run three Child-Friendly Spaces in L’Asile, near the epicenter of the earthquake. They are delivering IsraAID’s Social and Emotional Learning curriculum, which encourages emotional resilience, language, and math skills through play. This is essential as it remains unclear when schools will be able to re-open. Additionally, we trained 49 communal leaders in Psychosocial First Aid, providing immediate support that can also serve the community in future emergencies.
IsraAID’s team will continue to focus on community access to safe water and hygiene infrastructure, including constructing and repairing toilets in schools and hospitals. We will also continue to deliver Protection programs, including the CFSs, and we’re exploring ways to help schools re-open safely, especially amid COVID-19.