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Building a more resilient future after the earthquake in Haiti |

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A row of women hold rocks in their hands and over their heads as they descend into a hillside canyon in southern Haiti. They bring in rocks so that their community can build barriers that will slow the flow of water through this green valley and protect the land, so important to this rural farming community, from erosion.

The team of workers building the barriers is made up of women and men from vulnerable communities in one of three provinces across the southern Haiti Peninsula that was hit by a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake on August 14, 2021.

More than 2,200 people died in the disaster and more than 137,000 homes were destroyed or damaged, as well as hospitals, schools and major transportation infrastructure, including roads and bridges.

At the bottom of the valley, another team of about 36 people is working hard to clear the road. They get paid about 500 Haitian gourdes (about $5) for 4-5 hours a day and will spend 20 days working to improve their community.

United Nations Haiti / Daniel Dickinson

Road rehabilitation works are being carried out by people living in Laurent in southern Haiti.

Support the vulnerable

“The money I earn helps me pay for food, school, and other household needs,” says Tessie Midgon. “Many families lost their livelihood due to the earthquake, and this helps us survive.”

The rehabilitation work on the hillside and valley road is supported by the World Food Program (WFP) and is part of the Haitian government’s efforts to improve the resilience of vulnerable people threatened by natural disasters. Many of these people also receive support to improve their food production and nutrition activities.

There are 16 similar teams in this vicinity and many others across Haiti’s southern peninsula where the earthquake caused the most damage.

“The money people earned is important in the short term to get through the difficult period after the earthquake,” says Sophia Toussaint of the World Food Programme, but it is also important for their long-term future. Protecting hillsides stops soil erosion and reduces the possibility of farmers losing their crops in the event of a natural disaster; Having a good road allows products to be sent to market more easily.” This also means that aid can be delivered more effectively, and people can get to the hospital in the event of another earthquake.”

Jerry Chandler is the Director General of Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency. “We have worked closely with our international partners, including the United Nations, to ensure that our response to disasters is more robust. Therefore, we are planning for the possibility of another disaster but also ensuring that the impact is minimized.”

One year after the earthquake, the United Nations continues to support communities across the three hardest-hit provinces: Grand Anse, Nippes and Sade. About 26,200 people fled their uninhabitable homes, most of whom were housed in 85 temporary displacement sites.

United Nations Haiti / Daniel Dickinson

Roslyn Jantin sold a goat to pay for a new roof installation.

The majority have now returned home, including Roslyn Gantin and her three sons. The roof of her small home in Laurent outside Les Cayes collapsed in the earthquake, injuring her eldest son’s leg. However, the walls remained in place, and she was encouraged to return to her home with the support of a roof-building kit provided by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

“I sold my goats to pay carpenters to install the roof of my new home,” says Ms. Jantin. “I still panic when I hear a loud noise, thinking it could be another earthquake, but I know this roof is well made and will protect me and my family from bad weather.”

IOM distributed about 100 kits in Laurent, which include everything a family needs to build a roof; Wood, tin sheets, nails and more. In total, about 500 were distributed throughout the earthquake-affected area to the most vulnerable families.

United Nations Haiti / Daniel Dickinson

The walls of Roslyn Gantin’s house withstood the August 2021 earthquake, but not the roof.

“These roofs are important not only because they provide shelter,” says Jean Gardi-Saint-Just of the International Organization for Migration, “they also enable families to make their own decisions about how to repair their homes and thus rebuild their lives. In this sense, they create their own resilience. future disasters with little support from the International Organization for Migration.”

With homes rebuilt from their roofs, and roads repaired stone by stone, UN agencies are still working in the three departments, providing much-needed services but also providing space for communities to decide how best to protect themselves when the next disaster strikes. .

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2/ https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/08/1124392

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