Looking Back : Haiti Earthquake, Ten Years On - GOAL Global Skip to content

Looking Back : Haiti Earthquake, Ten Years On


January 13, 2020 • 4 min read

Ten years ago this week, on January 12th 2010, a terrible earthquake hit Haïti destroying a large part of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and surrounding areas. An estimated 220,000 people died and some three million people were affected.

Man searches for belongings amongst rubble

"At that time, our community, like many other communities in Haiti, needed support. And GOAL was one of the first NGOs to help us, and we hadn't taken any steps to have GOAL in our community. It touched us a lot and stayed on our minds."

Now, GOAL reflects on our Haiti relief efforts, ten years on…

Within less than 24 hours of when tragedy struck, GOAL was on the ground using its emergency response expertise to help the communities devastated by the tragedy. More than 80 GOALies of different nationalities arrived in Haiti to work in difficult circumstances, working with more than 250 local staff. What we found were large parts of the country buried under tons of twisted metal and concrete, and it was time to spring into action.

During the recovery phase between 2010 and 2015 GOAL accomplished a huge amount in Haiti specifically in Turgeau, Canapé Vert, Bourdon, Christ-Roi (in Port-au-Prince), Gressier, and Leogane in the West Department.

We distributed food to around 5 million families in Port-au-Prince alone, built 2,000 transitional t-shelters and rebuilt 12 schools and 23 classrooms.

In addition GOAL:

· Paid 16,900 people daily to work removing rubble

· Increased access to safe water in schools and communities.

· Oversaw the safe relocation of 2,400 families through provision of rental assistance

· Gave financial assistance for the repair of around 100 damaged houses

· Trained around 1,000 people in safe construction techniques

· Oversaw the closure of 38 Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps in Port-au-Prince and 4 IDP camps in Gressier. GOAL also contributed to training young people as Community Intervention Teams.

· Formed around 60 community saving groups.

· Gave 200 women access to micro finance credits, and trained them in business management.

· Responded to cholera outbreak, establishing prevention strategies in the communities.

GOAL undertook a small survey to see the impact of its work through two beneficiary focus groups. Participants expressed their satisfaction with the help brought by GOAL. The feedback was that the Haitian Government was overwhelmed and even absent after the disaster of January 12, 2010.

Haiti earthquake image courageous child .

“At that time, our community, like many other communities in Haiti, needed support. And GOAL was one of the first NGOs to help us, and we hadn’t taken any steps to have GOAL in our community. It touched us a lot and stayed on our minds. ” one said.

A GOAL strategy still engraved in the memory of the residents is the proximity that GOAL employees have kept with the community. One beneficiary said: “GOAL had made an intervention in the house of my 80-year-old father. Currently he lives in this house which was upgraded with permanent measures to resist future hurricanes and earthquake, thanks to GOAL housing project. ”

In Gressier, (about 30km from Port-au-Prince) focus groups participants still remember GOAL for its work building latrines. One beneficiary said: ‘’The latrine project has brought a lot of change to our community. Especially we had been trained on the importance of the construction and use of latrines. Even when someone was not a direct latrine beneficiary, but this project encouraged other residents to build their own latrines’’.

GOAL beneficiary Elisanne Vendredi, aged 79, has no words to express her gratitude to GOAL. She was given a T-shelter and financial assistance to start her business selling plants and charcoal. ‘’I am really happy and excited for the GOAL supports which have really changed my life. Thanks to GOAL I have a full life of hope’’, said Elisanne.

GOAL employees also have memories of the crisis. Junior Clairvil was a camp leader in Cite George when GOAL arrived. Four years later he for a job with GOAL as a data and is now Senior Logistic Officer. He is so proud to work with GOAL, to be witness to what GOAL did in his neighbourhood and to be now contributing to the development phase of the GOAL programme.

Jean Robert Charles joined the GOAL team in February 2010 as a driver. He participated in distribution programmes and was so impressed by GOAL principles and methodology. “I do not say that because I am an employee of GOAL, but I see how GOAL works with good principles. We deliver to the community and the work carried out is very visible. I wish we could continue to improve,” says Robert Charles.

GOAL’s work in Haiti is not over. Since 2014 GOAL started the transition from recovery to development introducing projects on resilience, systems, and social inclusion. GOAL is currently focussing on strengthening the resilience of Haitian communities principally in Jeremie and Port au Prince, where two urban resilience programs are being implemented using the systems approach, analysing resilience (using the ARC-D tool) and community planning.

In Jeremie the project focus is on urban infrastructures in informal neighbourhood and disaster risk reduction while in Port-au-Prince GOAL is promoting inclusive and informed governance and the participation of communities in the management of their environment.

To implement those projects GOAL has partnered with other NGOs including Haven, Care, Actionaid and Fonkoze.

In Jeremie, GOAL is implementing a project on the blue economy, focused on sustainable fishing and providing better living conditions for the fishing communities funded by Irish Aid.

To find out more about our current programmes in Haiti, please visit here.