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Haiti Earthquake: 9 years on, HI continues to ensure access to rehabilitation services for the most vulnerable

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Emergency | Insertion | Rehabilitation | Haiti | PUBLISHED ON July 26th 2019
prosthesis and orthosis workshop with HI support

prosthesis and orthoses workshop with HI support | © Nadia Todres/HI

Working alongside victims since the earthquake hit Haiti on 12 January 2010, HI continues to provide  assistance, in particular high quality rehabilitation services.

On 12 January 2010, Haiti was devastated by an earthquake which killed 230,000 people and injured over 300,000 others. In the wake of this disaster, Handicap International mobilised up to 600 people and deployed unprecedented levels of resources to assist the people affected by the earthquake. The organisation provided 90,000 people with rehabilitation care, 1,400 people with orthopaedic fitting  and 25,000 people with psychosocial support.

Sustainable projects

Nine years after the earthquake, the organisation continues to support the Haitian population by developing long-term projects.

"In 2010, when the earthquake hit Haiti, there were hardly any rehabilitation services in the country. With support from HI, the first training course for rehabilitation technicians was set up after the earthquake, which now means people can access rehabilitation therapy sessions in different infrastructures. HI continues to support health structures, making rehabilitation centres accessible to all and providing qualified medical staff,"

explains Sibille Buehlmann, Rehabilitation Technical Coordinator for HI in Haiti.

•    In August 2015, 72 students received their qualifications. Today, HI continues to train rehabilitation technicians, improve the skills of physiotherapists, and facilitate access to quality rehabilitation services in hospitals and communities. HI also provides support  to health structures.

•    The organisation supports around 450 people – especially people with disabilities to help them build their confidence and improve their skills, develop an economic activity or undertake paid employment, earn a living and better provide for their families.

•    HI raises the awareness of the dangers on the road for Haitian population and school children and teaches safe behaviours to public transport drivers. HI also conducts advocacy work with the authorities and the Haitian society as a reminder of the importance of preventing road accidents.

•    Finally, in a country where a part of the population lives in isolated and remote areas, where very little relief work has been done, HI works with the most vulnerable and isolated families so that they can prepare for and protect themselves against natural disasters.

Emergency response intervention

Alongside its development projects, HI also mobilises its teams each time a natural disaster occurs. In particular, the organisation came to the assistance of the victims of hurricaine Matthew in September 2016 (providing rehabilitation, emergency response and hygiene kits, a logistics platform, and more).

To find out more: actions implemented in the wake of the earthquake

  • Handicap International, already operating in the country when the earthquake hit, provided rehabilitation care to over 90,000 people, orthopaedic fitting for 1,400 people
  • HI distributed over 5,000 wheelchairs, crutches and walking frames to people with disabilities affected by the disaster
  • The organisation also provided over 25,000 people with psychosocial support
  • HI's teams also built over 1,000 shelters for extremely vulnerable families and supplied over 20,000 tons of aid for people affected by the disaster

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HI is an independent and impartial aid organisation working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. We work alongside people with disabilities and vulnerable populations, taking action and bearing witness in order to respond to their essential needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights.

HI is an independent and impartial aid organisation working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. We work alongside people with disabilities and vulnerable populations, taking action and bearing witness in order to respond to their essential needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights.

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