We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. By clicking any link on this page you are giving your consent for us to set cookies.
See Privacy Policy


Haiti - One year on


On January 12, 2010
a major earthquake struck the country of Haiti in the Caribbean.
Approximately 250,000 people were killed
Two million were left homeless and three million in need of emergency aid.
CBM joined the International response
providing emergency relief
and supporting people to find shelter
in the hundreds of camps that sprang up throughout the capital city Port-au-Prince
And across the wider country.
But a year on and the situation in Haiti remains desperate.
Over a million people continue to live in the refugee camps
that are scattered throughout the rubble of Port-au-Prince.
Many bodies still remain buried under tons of concrete.
Rodenson was injured in the earthquake when his home collapsed.
His foot was badly crushed and had to be amputated.
Rodenson's father was killed.
With their home destroyed
his mother found shelter for them in the back of a pickup truck
where they lived for six months.
Eventually his mother was able to buy a tent in one of the camps
where they now live.
The tent is shared by Rodenson
his mother, sister, two brothers, his grandmother and an uncle
With CBM's support Rodenson has recovered from his surgery
but he and his family
continue to live in their tented home in the camp.
Clean water is always in demand
and sanitation a constant problem.
In November 2010
a cholera academic broke out in Haiti
killing hundreds of people.
Sebastien lost his right leg in the earthquake
he also lost his mother, who was killed.
He now lives in a tent with his aunt and uncle
along with their eight children.
The camp grew up on land that used to be the city dump.
It is swampy and humid
attracting lots of insects and rats.
Walking around the camps here they are clearly very important physical needs
shelter, water, food, clothing
but there is also a huge psychological need
People here are severely traumatised
Sebastien, who I met earlier
lay underneath rubble for three days
waiting to be rescued
and lying next to him was his dead mother.
In November 2010
hurricane Thomas closed in on Haiti
threatening the flimsy tented camps with hurricane winds.
The residents of the tented camps did their best
to prepare their homes as the hurricane approached.
Fortunately, the strongest winds stayed largely out at sea
but heavy flooding contributed to the spread of cholera
and compounded the poor sanitation within the camps.
While many relief organisations
had withdrawn from Haiti
CBM has remained
providing outreach medical support
with a focus on the needs of people living with a disability.
A major difficulty is cleanliness and hygiene.
People who have needed medical surgery often
leave hospital to go back to live in the refugee camps.
Keeping wounds clean long enough to heal can be very difficult
Dorlene had her foot amputated as a result of injury
but when her wound became infected she had to
have a second amputation below her knee.
Her wound is now infected again
with the real possibility of a further amputation being needed
to prevent the spread of septicaemia throughout her body.
In Haiti today there are over one million people living
in these tented camps.
When the temps were put up, they were supposed to be temporary accommodation
for an emergency situation.
But for more and more people these tents have now become their permanent homes.
For many families
day-to-day survival is all they can manage.
Many people lost their jobs when the earthquake destroyed their places of work
and the cost of basic food has escalated.
Many buildings in Port-au-Prince remain on the point of collapse
threatening the people below as they try to get on with life.
To help create employment
cash for work' programmes allow people to earn a daily wage
clearing rubble from the streets.
but the pay is low and the work insecure.
For over a million people
escaping the refugee camps
for a better life is impossible.
Recent elections for a new president have been highly charged
with the results disputed.
A second round of voting has been called for early in 2011
perpetuating the political instability.
Law and order have broken down in many areas
and escalating civil conflict is a looming possibility.
International aid agencies
are trying to meet the needs of the population
but without a stable, efficient government to liaise with
coordinating aid and development programmes is very difficult.
But CBM is continuing its commitment
to the people of Haiti, helping those
with disability and their families
to survive their immediate situation.
Looking into the future for a better life
remains a dream
that many people cannot even think about.

A video showing some of the effects of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and the emergency and development work that CBM and partners have done during the year that followed

Articles about this topic

Haiti - One year later

The situation in Haiti, one year after the earthquake which struck on January 12, 2010


Go to Website

CBM worldwide

back to CBM international

Or try this:

Due to your location and language settings you might be interested in the following CBM sites:

© CBM International

Meta navigation, Legal

Access key details