More than two years on from the devastating earthquake that killed over 300,000 people, MRDF is continuing to support people to rebuild their lives in some of the worst affected areas. One million people became homeless when the 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck on 12th January 2010. Families that lost their homes in the disaster took shelter in crowded makeshift tents, which did not protect them from the elements and lacked access to safe water and sanitation.
It is difficult for people in Haiti to secure land ownership and the process of gaining rights to land can take a long time. As a result of this, families require temporary accomodation before they can acquire land to build permanant homes. MRDF is working alongside a partner organisation to provide transitional housing to the most vulnerable people. Transitional houses are solid structures designed to last up to 10 years that provide families with a stable and secure place to live until they are able to secure a permanant house. Not only do transitional houses offer shelter but, unlike makeshift tents, which are often forcibly relocated, they make it possible for children to regularly attend the same school and parents are able to earn money by working the land surrounding the house and selling their produce.
Recently, MRDF enabled Sackel, Charles and their daughter Santana to move from a makeshift tent (below left) to a solid house (below right). They are very proud of their new house and Charles has already built a porch.
MRDF has enabled 37 vulnerable families to get back on their feet by providing housing. Batista Aimé, 26, was one of those made homeless by the earthquake. She lived with her two children in Port au Prince until the family lost their home and all of their possessions in the disaster. She relocated to Léogane, 25 kilometres away, and took refuge in a makeshift tent for 12 months. She describes living in the tent as a ‘horrifying experience.’ Exposure to the elements resulted in Batista becoming ill and she was eventually hospitalised. Twenty seven months after the earthquake, MRDF’s partner provided Batista with a small house. Batista considers her house a blessing from God and is very grateful to MRDF and the local organisation that has enabled her to rebuild her life. The new house has enabled Batista’s children to regularly attend a nearby school and she is slowly recovering from her illness.