06.01.2020

Haiti 10 years on: Where are earthquake victims today?

A decade later, their lives are still marked by the earthquake which struck Haiti in 2010. Victims lived through the shock brought on by the disaster, missing loved ones that they might have lost in the devastating aftermath, and despite everything, were able to meet their day-to-day needs in difficult circumstances. How can anyone bounce back from an earthquake whose social, economic and environmental impacts continue to be felt years later? Here are portraits of three Haitians for whom our partner NGOs made all the difference.

Yvelaine, from schoolgirl to chef

‘When the earthquake hit, I was on my way to school. I was 10 years old then. The house was in ruins. We had sheets for a roof, we weren’t protected from the wind or rain, and we lacked food’.

Already an orphan before the disaster, this young Haitian survived the aftermath of the earthquake thanks to the family support provided by our partner NGO Terre des hommes – Child relief.

‘Every day, we received a hot meal and water’, recalls Yvelaine. Later, she continued going to the centre for training. ‘I learned how to protect myself. There were a lot of thugs around and many young girls became victims of abuse’.

And thanks to your donations, Yvelaine also earned a chef’s diploma. ‘I’m not working full time right now, but I often prepare meals for private receptions. Becoming a cook and pastry chef was a dream come true’. Yvelaine is celebrating her 20th birthday this year.

Chantanne, a new life raising rabbits

‘The day of the earthquake, I was just leaving my garden where I had been planting cabbage. I lost family members and friends’, says Chantanne, 39, who has an 18-year-old son. ‘Many things have changed since the 2010 earthquake.

Life is challenging, but the assistance we’ve received has really helped us rebuild our lives’. Chantanne took part in reforestation projects in her region and, with the help of our partner NGO Caritas, was able to start raising rabbits and diversifying her gardening job.

‘I received six rabbits. They multiplied and I gave six of the kits to a new family. Rabbit meat is good food for people with diabetes and for undernourished children. Raising rabbits is a whole new way of life’.

‘I’ve been a bricklayer since 2010’

‘During the earthquakes in 2010, our house was destroyed, and we lost all our livestock. I was living with my parents back then and we had no money’, recalls Bellany.

Shortly after that natural disaster struck Haiti, our partner NGO Helvetas created a savings group which helped this young woman and her family to cope. The NGO provided Bellany with training in latrine-building techniques.

Today, she earns a living from this work, while helping her community at the same time. ‘As a result, I’ve been a bricklayer since 2010’, she says. ‘I also teach the families we work with how to use the latrines’, she adds.

‘At the same time, I am developing a savings project. I have three groups under my responsibility. I’m putting my savings aside so that I can build my own home one day. I’m pregnant, and I know I will have money for my child’s future’.