The 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti three years ago left 1.5 million homeless, injured around 300,000 people and left over 230,000 dead. An already delicate population fell into disaster.
The first ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) was mobilised 12 minutes after the quake struck and 900 boxes were dispatched immediately.
The deployment went on to be the biggest, longest and most complex in the history of the international disaster relief charity. Nearly 28,500 ShelterBoxes were distributed to families in need.
Due to the enormous scale of the disaster, working with partners on the ground including Haiti’s Rotary clubs and Scouts was key for ShelterBox to respond as quickly and effectively as it could.
Three years later, the people of Haiti are still suffering having been hit by Tropical Storm Isaac and more recently Hurricane Sandy.
SRT member James Webb (UK) was deployed to Haiti in 2010 but also more recently in November in response to Sandy. He is encouraged by the country’s progress over the past three years but says there are still issues that need to be addressed:
ShelterBox continues its disaster relief efforts in Haiti following Hurricane Sandy and is working with Handicap International (HI).
‘When I was deployed to Haiti after Sandy we liaised with a number of partners including HI, who has had a permanent presence there since the earthquake working on various projects ranging from development to disaster response,’ said James.
‘Through HI and using their local knowledge, we are currently distributing our aid to the most vulnerable families living in very remote areas who have lost everything.
‘Following the 2010 quake, we prepositioned ShelterBoxes in a warehouse managed by the International Organization for Migration. This means every time a disaster strikes Haiti, we have emergency shelter and other lifesaving equipment immediately available that helps us act much quicker and reach families in a much shorter time.’