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Six months of action by Handicap International: Haiti situation update
About this resource
Six months after an earthquake devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010, Handicap International has
made a provisional assessment of the situation, which you can find below along with an outline of
its plans for the future. The association has a team of 480 people in Haiti, including 70 expatriate
staff. It is the association’s largest ever deployment. Handicap International’s action is based on
three key pillars: 1. health, 2. meeting basic needs and 3. managing a logistics platform.
A central role in the effective coordination of humanitarian aid
As part of the management of a logistics platform of 70 trucks, under the auspices of the World Food
Programme (WFP), Handicap International has transported humanitarian aid for some 100 organizations,
including some 15 Haitian organizations.
On January 26, 2010, the United Nations and the World Health Organization requested two international
nongovernmental organizations, Handicap International and the German organization Christoffel-Blindenmission
(CBM), to lead the Injury, Rehabilitation and Disability Working Group within the U.N. Health Cluster in
coordination with the Haitian Secretariat of State for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities. This Working
Group is coordinating all activity in Haiti concerning the rehabilitation of injured persons, the fitting of
orthopedic devices and the provision of assistance to people with disabilities.
Within this framework, Handicap International and CBM are working with the Haitian Ministry for Public Health
and Population (MSPP) and the Secretariat of State for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities (SEIPH) to
coordinate international and national aid stakeholders operating in disability-related fields. Handicap
International is organizing the coordination of international aid operators, while CBM is coordinating Haitian
organizations working in these fields, under the general coordination of the WHO’s Health Cluster.
10,000 people already cared for by Handicap International
To date, more than 10,000 people have benefited from Handicap International’s health actions; 62,000 injury
care or functional rehabilitation sessions have been performed; 4,000 technical aids have been distributed
(mobility aids and orthopedic devices); almost 300 people have been or are in the process of being fitted with a
prosthesis and almost 200 with an orthosis. Handicap International has also implemented psychosocial support
actions concerning 15,000 people.
14,000 tons of humanitarian aid transported for some 100 organizations
Out of the total transported tonnage, 9,000 tons concerned food.
5,000 tents, 24,000 items of equipment and 36 tons of food distributed by Handicap International
More than 5,000 tents were distributed, providing shelter for more than 26,000 people, and 24,000 items of
equipment were distributed to more than 38,000 people.
More than 2,000 people took part in “cash for work” projects set up by Handicap International.
Three to five years needed to rise to the humanitarian challenge in Haiti
The association will gradually focus its actions on more long-term activities. The provision of livable, hurricane-
and earthquake-resistant temporary accommodation for isolated and vulnerable victims of the earthquake will
constitute an important area of action. We will continue to support and rehabilitate the injured while gradually
focusing our attention on the most serious cases and people with disabilities. Next, Handicap International
intends to develop its rehabilitation infrastructure and accessibility projects, disaster preparation and prevention
activities, and diploma-based training for Haitian rehabilitation and orthopedic-fitting staff. The underlying aim
of these actions is to build the capacity of Haitians and to transfer the management of these projects to them
over the long-term.