We remember with solemnity the devastating earthquake that rocked Port au Prince, Haiti, 10 years ago this month… January 12, 2010. The events of that day are certainly seared in the hearts and minds of the people of Haiti, as well as in people like us around the world who know and care about them and their country’s future. The scope of suffering on that day was tragic and hard to fathom, while the response to that suffering inspired hope for a better future. We remember that, first and foremost, local people came together to rescue and take care of one other well before external aid arrived. In fact, the vast majority of people who were saved were rescued by neighbors and local communities during those critical hours.
The disaster also awakened a large and generous response from around the world, and certainly from our community of friends and supporters, for which we continue to be grateful. Your generosity made it possible for us to target resources in support of our local health partners on the ground so that they could more fully engage and contribute to the response.
Deeper friendships and partnerships were forged by working side by side through the messy and complicated difficulties of those terrible circumstances. In addition to our existing collaborations at the time with public facilities Justinien University Hospital and Hospital Fort St. Michel, a new collaboration with Haitian Baptiste Convention Hospital (HCBH) and Haiti Hospital Appeal (now known as Hope Health Action) to respond to the needs of people with spinal injuries and subsequently the cholera epidemic were foundational to a successful partnership on other issues later, such as maternal and child health. The impactful partnership with the ULS health center grew directly out of our post-earthquake collaboration with a group of Haitian clinician volunteers, Action Sanitaire.
While our role and contribution seemed small in the midst of the enormity of the events, the legacy of those strengthened and new relationships continues today in our work through other challenging times and circumstances. It is well known that there are still real challenges for the people of Haiti, and that this past year has been a particularly difficult one for many. Political and security instability along with rising food and fuel prices have threatened some of the progress made since the earthquake. Now as before, though, we find hope in supporting colleagues and people from the local community who are working tirelessly for a better future.
Without them and our supporters in Haiti, the U.S., and abroad, none of this work would have been possible. Thank you.
In remembrance, solidarity, and hope,
Nate Nickerson, Executive Director