Bristol aid worker reflects on Haiti earthquake relief effort

Hugh Earp, from Coombe Dingle, travelled to Haiti after the earthquake, working as a shelter project manager with CARE International

Two years after a devastating earthquake hit Haiti, a Bristol aid worker who formed part of the relief efforts has revealed how the impoverished island is still recovering.

Hugh Earp, from Coombe Dingle, travelled to Haiti after the earthquake struck on January 12, 2010. He worked as a shelter project manager with CARE International, managing the distribution of kits to improve self-built shelters and make them more hurricane-resistant.

“When I first got there, it was a country in shock and mourning, but underlying that was a strength, and a determination to recover, but that took a while to surface everywhere,” he said.

“Some people started repairing and building very quickly, but at least a third of the population of Port-au-Prince just seemed lost at what to do. Little by little, it has improved and life is returning to normal.”

Ceremonies took place yesterday at grave sites across Haiti to mark the second anniversary of the disaster, which the Haitian government says claimed more than 300,000 lives.

Many women wore white dresses, while men dressed in black to attend church services.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on international donors to continue their support for Haiti.

“Nearly two years on, the capital Port-au-Prince looks a lot different,” said Hugh. “While I was there, I often barely noticed any change. But even in August 2010, having been out of the country for a month, returning made the progress apparent.

“Since then, recovery has accelerated. A large number of camps have been disbanded, and their inhabitants have returned home, or found other places to stay. It is true, however, that many of the bigger camps still remain. There is still rubble littering the streets, there is still a shortage of housing, and the situation remains dire.“

Hugh lived in Pétionville and worked alongside the largely Haitian staff who co-ordinated with local communities to reach families with food, clean water, temporary shelter and other services.

As the response progressed, Hugh’s team moved quickly into the construction of transitional shelters directly in earthquake affected communities. As a result, many families in hard-hit places such as Léogâne and Carrefour were able to move out of temporary camps and begin rebuilding their communities and their lives.

President Michel Martelly yesterday said his government has stepped up reconstruction efforts since he took office last May.

Officials point to new roads and schools around the capital, and thousands of Haitians moved from public parks to permanent housing.

But 500,000 Haitians remain homeless, and only half the aid pledged following the earthquake has been spent.

Ban Ki-moon alled on international donors to keep up their support for the reconstruction.

“Despite considerable achievements, including in the areas of rubble removal and the resettlement of displaced persons, many Haitians remain in need of international assistance,” he said.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Today's news and features
Guide to Record Store Day 2014 in Bristol

It's back with a bang this year - here's our guide to what's going down for #RSD14 (Read more...)

To love Bristol is to protect its history

Love means protecting and cherishing. If you don't see any value in doing that for your city, you may as well tell your wife to get a face transplant (Read more...)

Banksy in Bristol: Artwork could go on display over Easter

The new Banksy artwork which appeared in Bristol this week could go on show over the Easter weekend at the City Museum and Art Gallery (Read more...)

Banksy in Bristol: War of words over ownership of new artwork

George Ferguson has said he wants the new Banksy to benefit local youth club and the whole city, as a row broke out over who owns now world-famous art(Read more...)

Bristol to host May Day tribute event for Tony Benn

Bristolians will have the chance to pay a tribute to former city MP and Labour Party giant Tony Benn at a May Day memorial event (Read more...)

Five best motoring magazines to read

If you spend every waking moment thinking about exhausts, paint jobs and AA Cars, then consider a subscription to one of many popular motoring magazin(Read more...)

Sign up for the Bristol24-7 newsletter

By signing up, you will receive access to news and special offers

It's quick and easy to join... just fill in the form below. Thank you!

Your Name*

Your Email*

Your Postcode area (BS1, BS2 etc)*

What are you most interested in? (You can choose more than one!)*
What's On Food and Drink Business Motoring Travel Special offers 

Bristol247 newsletter