January 12, 2015
by Habitat for Humanity Haiti
Five years ago today, a devastating earthquake in Haiti destroyed 105,000 houses, damaged 85,000 more and left more than 1.5 million people homeless. It took about 30 seconds to reduce much of the country’s housing stock and infrastructure to piles of rubble. In the five years since the earthquake, a complex story of survival, perseverance, and renewal has unfolded, surely and steadily.
Launched days after the earthquake, Habitat for Humanity’s initial disaster recovery program included distributing emergency shelter kits with partner organizations, constructing transitional and upgradeable shelters, assessing house damage, and beginning home repairs and retrofits. Habitat for Humanity also has trained thousands of individuals in safer construction techniques, financial literacy, damage assessments, disaster risk reduction and business development. Approximately 2,100 short-term job opportunities have been created through the recovery program.
“Recovery from such a major disaster will take many more years,” said Claude Jeudy, national director of Habitat for Humanity Haiti. “While progress has been made since 2010, it is essential that Habitat and all stakeholders committed to Haiti’s housing sector continue to work together to strengthen communities and address long-term housing needs.”
Land tenure is one of the biggest challenges of reconstruction in Haiti. The Haiti Property Law Working Group has made great progress in addressing these issues of insecure tenure. The working group has published a how-to manual and related training materials to bring clarity and transparency around land ownership in Haiti. Property rights are a key housing and economic indicator and continue to play an important role in Haiti’s recovery process.