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Earthquake Overview

In the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, USAID has provided relief, recovery and long-term reconstruction assistance:

Relief (rapid, life-saving emergency assistance):

  • Search and Rescue: Deployed seven search-and-rescue teams as part of an international rescue effort that saved more than 130 lives.
  • Emergency Food Assistance: Provided emergency food relief for nearly 4 million people in the first three months after the earthquake, the largest emergency food distribution ever.
  • Water: Provided safe drinking water for up to 1.3 million people daily following the earthquake.
  • Sanitation: Installed more than 11,500 latrines and 25 water systems.
  • Emergency Shelter: In cooperation with international partners, provided basic shelter materials to 1.5 million people before the start of the rainy season in May 2010.
  • Cholera: Rapidly responded to the cholera outbreak in cooperation with other U.S. Government agencies, the Government of Haiti and the international community to quickly reduce fatality rates.

Recovery (bridging the gap from emergency assistance to reconstruction):

  • Cash-for-Work: Employed more than 350,000 people (about half of whom were women) in the first year after the earthquake through short-term, cash-for-work jobs, injecting more than $19 million into the local economy.
  • Rubble Removal: Cleared more than 2.7 million cubic meters of rubble out of the 10 million cubic meters of rubble created by the earthquake.
  • Shelter Solutions: Provided shelter solutions for more than 328,000 people.
  • Education: Constructed over 600 semi-permanent classrooms, allowing 60,000 students to return to school.
  • Coordination and Planning: Supported the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, the planning body for the Haitian recovery.

Reconstruction (promoting sustainable, long-term development, requiring in-depth exchanges with new partners and Government of Haiti officials to design and implement projects):

  • Housing/Settlements: Completed permanent housing near the Caracol Industrial Park and north of Port-au-Prince. Partnering with other donors and NGOs in constructing housing in another three additional locations in the same areas. Increasing access to housing finance as well as providing community development support to ensure sustainability of these settlements.
  • Energy: Constructed a 10 megawatt power plant, with potential expansion to at least 25 megawatts, for the new Caracol Industrial Park in Haiti’s north and rehabilitated five electrical substations in Port-au-Prince. USAID’s Improved Cooking Technologies Program is establishing local markets for clean cooking stoves and an industry to sustain it.
  • Economic Security: Provided support to micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) through training and easier access to finance. Credit valued at more than $12 million was extended to more than 30 microfinance institutions to increase lending to underserved populations and MSMEs in several sectors. Contributed to more than 15,000 agricultural loans for farmers to improve crop production and allow agricultural cooperatives to access markets directly.
  • Food Security: From the 2009 baseline to 2013, increased crop yields of beneficiary farmers for corn (448 percent), beans (94 percent), rice (139 percent), and plantains (56 percent) through new technologies and a more rational use of agricultural inputs. Strengthened agricultural markets by reducing post-harvest losses, rehabilitating rural roads and linking producers directly to markets. Increased the total sales by farmers supported through Feed the Future West from $7 million in 2010 to $12.9 million in 2013.
  • Health: Provide access to basic medical care targeting approximately half the Haitian population through our support of over 160 sites nationwide. Supported a national measles, rubella, and polio immunization campaign that reached over 90 percent coverage.
  • Education: Developing and implementing innovative, evidence-based early-grade reading programs to improve reading outcomes for more than 28,000 children nationwide.
  • Disabilities: Awarded four projects to address four different aspects of inclusion and provision of better and more accessible care for persons with disabilities. We have also increased physical access for disabled students and teachers in 19 primary schools and funded St. Boniface Spinal Cord Injury Center.


At present, USAID is guided by the U.S. Government Post-Earthquake Strategy (pdf) to support sustainable reconstruction and long-term development in Haiti. The strategy follows the Government of Haiti’s Action Plan For National Recovery and Development of Haiti. We are working closely with a number of other U.S. Government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Treasury, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Department of State—including the U.S. Embassy's Narcotics Affairs Section. Working with these agencies, we are better able to support a comprehensive approach to implementing four key pillars for development: infrastructure and energy, food and economic security, health and other basic services, and democracy, governance, and rule of law.

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Last updated: October 29, 2014

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