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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 in the five months after the earthquake (prior to the start of rainy season).

Cholera: Rapidly responded to the cholera outbreak and continues to coordinate with the Government of Haiti, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other donors on activities to prevent and treat diarrheal diseases, including cholera. The cholera case fatality rate for hospitalized persons remained under 1 percent in 2015.


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

Cash-for-Assets: Employed more than 350,000 people (about half of whom were women) in the first year after the earthquake through short-term, cash-for-assets 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 and partnering with other donors and NGOs to support housing construction in three additional locations, as well as providing community development support to ensure sustainability of these settlements. To achieve greater cost efficiency and sustainability, additional USAID shelter investments focus on measures to broaden access to safe, low-cost housing by supporting increased access to financing.

Energy: Constructed a 10 megawatt power plant, with potential expansion to 25 megawatts, for the Caracol Industrial Park in Haiti’s north. The power plant is providing reliable, continuous electricity service to all of the tenants in the park and more than 8,000 households and businesses in adjacent communities. USAID’s Improved Cooking Technologies Program helped more than 100,000 households convert from charcoal to more efficient cookstoves.

Economic Security: USAID supports the creation of full-time, formal-sector employment in key industrial sectors, including agribusiness, apparel, and construction. Development Credit Authority (DCA) loan guarantees have supported local financial institutions in providing more than 12,350 loans to households and micro-, small-, and medium-sized businesses, for a total of $41 million. USAID is also using public-private partnerships in Haiti to improve social and economic conditions as well as to deepen the Agency’s development impact.

Food Security: Introduced improved seeds, fertilizer, and technologies to more than 70,000 farmers; these increased yields for rice, corn, bean and plantain crops. Feed the Future programs have also strengthened agricultural markets by reducing post-harvest losses and linking producers directly to markets. USAID microcredit programs have reached 57,000 small-scale farmers with an agricultural loan portfolio valued at close to $32 million.

Health: Supports 164 health facilities that provide access to primary health care services for nearly half of the population. USAID supported the training of 11,000 community health workers who serve rural communities without access to nearby health facilities.

Education: USAID directly supports 550 schools and promotes the use of a nationwide innovative instructional model in partnership with other donors, NGOs, and the private sector. The goal is to holistically improve early grade reading and writing in Haitian Creole and French for Haitian children in the first four grades.

Disabilities: The USAID disabilities program established and developed the first standardized Rehabilitation Technician Training Program in Haiti.  U.S. Government-supported projects have graduated 50 rehabilitation technicians trained in the hospital and community approaches and 22 orthotics and prosthetics technicians, the first cohort of technicians to be fully trained in Haiti.  To strengthen collaboration and advocacy within the profession, physical therapy and orthotics associations were established.

Democracy and Governance: USAID is working with selected municipalities to improve local tax collection, management, and service delivery, and with national government entities to improve the legal framework and increase the resources available to municipalities. All nine of the selected municipalities have developed municipal investment plans with robust grassroots participation and coordination with local authorities. In the most recent year, these municipalities generated local tax revenue of approximately $9.3 million representing an increase of seven percent over the previous year.

Justice: Through its Judicial Strengthening program, USAID provided technical assistance to the newly-operational Superior Judicial Council (CSPJ), which administers, controls, and disciplines the court system, including vetting and assigning judges. At its full capacity the CSPJ will address judicial corruption by enforcing more rigorous standards of conduct and penalizing judges who are not in compliance.

Anti-Corruption: To combat corruption within the public sector and improve transparency of financial management, USAID continues to support implementation of the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS), which allows connectivity between the Government of Haiti revenue collection and expenditure management systems. After most of the Government of Haiti physical infrastructure was destroyed by the earthquake, USAID helped to re-establish the IFMS in mid-2010 and the Government of Haiti has gradually built back operability.


At present, USAID is guided by the U.S. Government Post-Earthquake Strategy [PDF, 1.7MB] to support sustainable reconstruction and long-term development in Haiti. The strategy, which was extended to 2018, 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. 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.

Last updated: May 20, 2016

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