Over the years, Habitat for Humanity has helped rebuild communities devastated by disasters. Today, on the 5 year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, we’re looking back at some of the families we’ve helped rebuild. We also revisit families devastated by the Indian Ocean Tsunami 10 years ago.
In January 2010, a devastating earthquake in Haiti destroyed 105,000 houses, damaged 85,000 more and left more than 1.5 million people homeless. In the five years since the earthquake, a complex story of survival, perseverance and renewal has unfolded, surely and steadily.
Haiti is one of the poorest nations in the world and this, along with a number of other factors, posed challenges to the rebuilding effort. Despite this, soon after the 2010 earthquake, Habitat for Humanity set a goal to serve 50,000 affected families over a five-year period. In 2013, Habitat met this goal, two years earlier than planned.
Ricardine and her family partnered with Habitat to build a home. Ricardine runs a small sundries store out of a metal hut next to their house, and her husband, Roman, is an automobile mechanic. They and 300 other households in the Léogâne community of Santo were beneficiaries of homes constructed as part of the annual Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. Their four children are healthier and happier since moving into their new home in February 2013. Batiste Enika, 11, dreams of becoming a nurse when she grows up, and Jean Louí Lorica, 9 wants to be a lawyer. Their younger children, Ezeckiel Estime, 3 and 2 year old Manace Estime are looking forward to starting preschool.
The 300 families of Santo represent what is possible after a disaster. A carefully planned, holistic, coordinated approach — in partnership with like-minded organisations and all levels of government — has resulted in a strong, self-sustaining community with a real future. Now those 300 families have started to expand their homes, planted vegetables and flowers, and rebuilt their lives.
With support from Habitat, Santo’s community council is pursuing opportunities and initiatives, such as microfinance loans to expand homes, a composting and sanitation program to generate much-needed revenue, and training to help families work together for the benefit of the entire community.
On the other side of the globe, Agus and his family are also looking toward the future filled with hope, 10 years after the Indian Ocean tsunami.
The 2004 tsunami is known as one of the most devastating disasters in history. More than 230,000 died and 1.7 million people were displaced when the tsunami affected more than a dozen countries from Thailand to Madagascar on the 26 December.
Habitat for Humanity worked in the most affected countries of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand, helping 25,000 families to rebuild their homes and hope. Habitat focused on permanent housing solutions, using community-based strategies.
Agus, his wife Liza and two children live in Aceh, Indonesia, one of the worst-affected areas of the tsunami. Their son Aditya Azhar, 13 has no memory of the tsunami while daughter Nayla Zaskia, 8, was born after the event. Agus and Liza, however live with the painful memories of the tsunami. The couple’s hope is that their children will never have to experience such horrors.
Habitat for Humanity helped rebuild the family’s home. In this time, Agus and Liza have worked hard to support their family. The couple makes cakes and donuts at home and take the pastries to sell at the central market. Liza also began making handbags after learning the skill from a friend. She takes up to three days to make one handbag and this provides additional income to support the family.
Three years after moving into their home Agus used his construction skills to make several improvements to the family home. He constructed a patio and a kitchen, laid ceramic floor tiles, and strengthened the windows with metallic grilles. The family say they feel comfortable and safe in their home and are grateful to be given a second chance.