After the earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, Humanity & Inclusion (known then as Handicap International) deployed one of the largest emergency response operations in its history. Eleven years later, its work with the most vulnerable people continues.
Haiti was devastated by the earthquake that killed more than 230,000 people and injured more than 300,000. “In 2010, when the earthquake struck Haiti, there was almost no rehabilitation service in the country,” explains Sylvia Sommella, Humanity & Inclusion’s director in Haiti.
Humanity & Inclusion mobilized hundreds of people and with record levels of donor support deployed unprecedented means to help those affected. In the earthquake’s wake, Humanity & Inclusion:
- provided rehabilitation care to 90,000 people;
- equipped more than 1,400 people with assistive devices;
- distributed more than 5,000 wheelchairs, crutches and walkers;
- extended psychosocial support to more than 25,000 people;
- built more than 1,000 temporary homes;
- and delivered more than 20,000 tons of humanitarian aid.
Building capacity in Haiti
Today, Humanity & Inclusion continues to help the Haitian population in executing a long-term disaster response.
“Thanks to the support of Humanity & Inclusion, which launched the first training of rehabilitation technicians following the earthquake, it is now possible to benefit from rehabilitation sessions in different infrastructures,” Sommella explains. “Humanity & Inclusion continues to support health structures, strives to make rehabilitation centers accessible to all, and ensures qualified medical staff.”
In the first six years following the disaster, Humanity & Inclusion trained 86 new medical experts, who are still working Haiti today. This training was supported by USAID. Training is ongoing for rehabilitation technicians and physical therapists continue to develop their skills through virtual coaching.
Preparing for future disasters
Humanity & Inclusion has made it a priority to work with people living in remote areas, so they can be prepared and protected should disaster strike again. That work includes providing partner organizations with shipping and storage services to ensure humanitarian supplies are available to the most vulnerable families for future natural disasters and emergencies.
In addition to disaster preparedness, Humanity & Inclusion is also working alongside Haitians to create economic and employment opportunities and fight Covid-19.