Building loos, hope and dignity in a city that has lost everything
Leslie Buckley, founder of Haven, says progress is being made in Haiti but aid is still badly needed
Published 11/04/2010 | 05:00
TODAY is the 89th day since an earthquake measuring seven on the Richter scale ripped through the Caribbean city of Port-au-Prince. Already the poorest country in the Western world, the capital of Haiti was defenceless to the quake and the aftershocks which hit in the days that followed.
Port-au-Prince was totally devastated; 230,000 lives were lost, countless injured, and even the most stately buildings reduced to dust and rubble; 1.3 million people were left homeless. Many fled to find refuge with families and friends in towns and villages unaffected by the quake. Those that stayed settled in one of the 600 campsites formed within days of the quake's first strike.
Haven -- an Irish non-governmental organisation that builds houses and community projects in Haiti -- along with hundreds of international aid organisations, has been working around the clock in Port-au-Prince since January 12, providing emergency relief to survivors. Despite its relative youth (having celebrated its first birthday the week of the earthquake), Haven was ideally placed to respond to the disaster -- given its sole focus on Haiti.