Tag Archives: Haiti

Boots on the ground in Haiti: Meet our disaster response expert

After the earthquake that devastated Haiti in January 2010, World Vision's Jeff Wright, operations director for humanitarian and emergency affairs, was among our first responders.

Why World Vision? In today's Q&A, Jeff describes what it's like to deploy to a disaster zone and how World Vision's disaster response makes a difference -- both then and now.

Two churches, two sundays (excerpt from Unfinished)

This past Tuesday, Rich Stearns -- president of World Vision U.S. and best-selling author of The Hole in our Gospel -- launched his second book: Unfinished: Believing Is Only The Beginning.

Below is an excerpt from the book, which explores God's plan for the world and how each and every one of us is called to a unique role in that mission.

Girl Rising: 9 Prayers for 9 Girls

In honor of International Women’s Day today and in celebration of yesterday’s premiere of 10X10’s new film Girl Rising, we want to pray for each of the girls featured in the film, the communities they represent, and World Vision’s work in some those communities. Two girls in the film come from World Vision project areas.

Haiti: Rebuilding what has been broken

On January 12, 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake shook Haiti and shaped a generation. While its duration was brief, the devastation it caused continues to affect the people of this small country -- the poorest in the Western Hemisphere. Three years later, Haiti is still in repair, but not without hope.

A place to learn and call home

It’s been nearly three years since the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and many people there are still living in squalid conditions in camps. Families who had the means to leave the camps have now gone, and those remaining are among Port-au-Prince’s most vulnerable.

Knowing that even one child living in an unsafe and unsanitary camp is too many, World Vision is working on a project to help families move out of camps and into more durable accommodations. With World Vision helping to shoulder the burden of housing, families are able to invest their resources into their children's educations -- and most importantly, their futures.

Handwashing: The greatest medical invention of all time

Today, believe it or not, is Global Handwashing Day.

I appreciate there are a ton of these kinds of days, and it’s sometimes tough to get excited about them all. So far this month we’ve had World Habitat Day, International Day of Older Persons, International Day of Non-Violence, World Teachers Day, World Post Day, World Mental Health Day, International Day of the Girl Child, World Sight Day, International Day for Disaster Reduction, and International Day of Rural Women.

Phew! What a list -- and we're only halfway through the month. One would have to be a saint to get passionate about them all.

On the other hand, commemorative days can focus attention on what might easily be a vital yet neglected topic. Handwashing happens to be one such issue.

Building the best shelter for the displaced

Late last week -- after months of hard work, design, and planning -- students from three different schools gathered at John Brown University to present their solutions to the growing need for shelter of displaced people worldwide.

World Vision has been on the front lines, responding to the challenge of providing contextually appropriate shelter that offers privacy, security, and refuge from the elements -- all while being resistant to future disasters, like flooding and earthquakes.

As a part of the World Vision team that responds to emergency situations, I have firsthand knowledge of the importance of temporary shelters and was called upon to judge the student's designs.

Answers from aid workers about Haiti

Today is the two-year anniversary of the massive earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, leaving the nation in ruins and triggering an international relief response. In the time since, aid workers and relief organizations have experienced an unprecedented level of scrutiny surrounding the response: What is really happening there? Are donations going to good use? Is there hope?

To gain some insight into these matters, we hosted an open mic for questions about Haiti this past week. Your submissions have been collected for responses from World Vision aid workers who have been focused on the relief efforts in Haiti -- Jeff Wright and Liz Ranade-Janis. Jeff and Liz were deployed to Haiti following the 2010 quake to coordinate and oversee World Vision relief programs there. Their extensive experience and expertise makes them a valuable resource in our understanding of humanitarian and emergency affairs.

Haiti will never be a lost cause

Last time I flew into Haiti, I was reading Ernest Hemingway’s "The Old Man and the Sea." I finished it just as the plane hit the tarmac of the broken-down Port-au-Prince airport. As I closed the book, I looked up and realized why it had resonated. The protagonist and his struggles at sea reminded me of this fascinating and broken place I’d come to call home -- a country where work happens, struggles continue, and yet "success" or any kind of respite seem so often out of reach.

It’s now been two years since the largest earthquake to hit the country in 200 years shook the life out of Port-au-Prince, causing chaos, destruction, death, and leaving more people homeless than the wrecked city could cope with. Journalists have come and gone, and the visiting groups of beaming, t-shirted volunteers have become less and less frequent. The work of aid agencies, the private sector, and the government has continued, with varying levels of success amid swathes of challenges, for 24 long months, and will continue for as long as there is the will, funding, and available resources.

Do you let the media influence you?

On a recent Friday afternoon, I happily engaged in my favorite nerdy end-of-week work habit, the kind only indulged on a slow week in the world of disaster relief: catching up on the week’s news in disasters while listening to talk radio.

While perusing various news sites, I happened to catch an interesting interview with Nobel laureate and psychologist Daniel Kahneman, whose renowned work focuses primarily on behavioral economics, which is more or less the study of why we do the crazy things we do. During this very interesting discussion on cognition and biases, the subject of the media briefly arose, in the context of how we decide what issues are important to us. Kahneman noted that we “tend to judge the importance of issues by how frequently they are mentioned.”

Perhaps your immediate reaction is to say, well, that seems obvious enough. It probably feels somewhat intuitive that most of us conflate the importance of a certain topic -- such as the national debt or the release of Apple's iPhone 4S -- with the amount of time we hear or see the subject filtered through any of our media lenses, be it national television, social media, print news, radio, etc. The very existence of the word “trending” makes one feel like we’ll probably never escape the Kardashians.

From heartbreak to hope in Haiti: Two years in photos

This week marks the two-year anniversary of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010. It was the most powerful quake to hit the nation in more than 200 years. The impact was devastating, triggering an international relief and recovery response. Haiti was the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere even before the 2010 quake.

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Ask an aid worker about Haiti

There are few disaster response efforts that have received the level of public scrutiny that has been focused on the international response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake. As a result of the earthquake relief response in Haiti, it's likely that most Americans have formed their own opinions about humanitarian aid. Questions like these and their answers (or lack of answers) influence our understanding and opinion of aid work:

Did my donation really help? Why hasn't anything been accomplished there? I watched one news channel that looks like everything is progressing quite well, and another that shows everything is in complete disarray. What's the truth? What's really happening? Two years seems like enough time to make some progress. Is the aid effort failing? Are dollars being wasted? Or is everything much better off than the news is telling us?

Most of us don't get to meet real humanitarian workers in the course of our everyday lives, so we don't have the opportunity to ask questions like this to front-line professionals. Therefore, consider this post your "open mic" chance.

Continuing with our expert interview series, in which you have the opportunity to ask your questions to aid professionals, I'd like to introduce you to Jeff Wright and Elizabeth (Liz) Ranade-Janis, aid workers on World Vision's humanitarian and emergency affairs team. Ask an aid worker about Haiti | World Vision blogJeff and Liz were both deployed to Haiti following the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck on January 12, 2010 -- two years ago next week -- to work alongside World Vision field staff to help implement the initial stages of our relief programs, including shelter, economic recovery, child protection, healthcare, cholera prevention, water, sanitation, and hygiene.

GLOBAL GLIMPSE -- Disaster response in 5 hotspots around the globe

Providing you with a quick snapshot of what's happening in five hotspots around the globe -- where your generous support is literally helping people cope with and recover from disasters and crisis situations. Thank you and please continue to stand by us as we respond to multiple disasters around the world.

Drought and famine in the Horn of Africa (current)

[caption id="attachment_7560" align="alignright" width="297" caption="Children at Melkadida refugee camp in Ethiopia, where some 76,000 of the refugees fled into the border town of Dolo Ado due to the current drought in Somalia. ©2011 Gebregziabher Hadera/World Vision"][/caption]

The first UN-declared famine of the 21st century, caused by a convergence of political strife, drought, and increasing global food prices, is affecting more than 12 million people in four countries in the Horn of Africa: Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti. More than 30,000 children from Somalia alone have perished of acute malnutrition and other related illnesses during the past three months, and hundreds of thousands have fled into refugee camps scattered throughout the region. Forecasters expect the drought to continue until December, so millions more are at risk.

To add to the misery of Somalis suffering in the drought, an epidemic of cholera has begun ravaging survivors in the Mogadishu area.

Disaster disadvantage [infographic]

Last year’s catastrophic earthquake in Haiti was all-consuming for a time, dominating the news and mobilizing compassion from all corners of the world. During those first few months, it was hard to imagine that Haiti’s suffering could fall off the radar.

But shortly after Haiti’s one-year anniversary came fresh disasters—New Zealand’s earthquake and Japan’s quake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis. Scenes of destruction in formerly functional cities, tragic stories, and the threat of radiation riveted media attention and provoked fears that something this bad could happen to us. (And then it did, with last month's killer storms and tornadoes in the U.S. South.)

Buried for two days beneath the rubble in Haiti

Earthquake survivor, Faradhia, stands at the former site of the Caribbean Market where she was once buried for 50 hours -- the rubble now cleared away and the foundation visible behind her. A powerful experience, it was the first time she had returned to the site since she was rescued. (Mary Kate MacIsaac/WV)

Faradhia Moise walked into the Caribbean Market to pick up dinner for herself and her parents – they were going to have pizza that night – when the floor started to shake. “There was a really loud noise, and I thought the building was about to collapse,” she said, recalling that fateful day last January.  She turned, ran, and then it was dark.

“I could not really move,” she said.  “I was stuck there.” Broken bottles of ketchup, mustard, and hot sauce surrounded her, and screams filled the air.  It would be another 50 hours before she would see the light of day again.

Haiti: One year report

On 12 January 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the nation of Haiti, the most powerful quake to hit in more than 200 years. The impact and aftershocks were devastating.

One year ago today, a devastating earthquake rocked Haiti. Today, the World Vision family around the world celebrates relief accomplishments made so far, prays for the years ahead, and remembers those whose lives were lost. Wherever you are today, please pray for those in Haiti who are working tirelessly to provide children and families with shelter and other necessities, and for those whose memories of the earthquake are still raw and painful.

The following is an excerpt from a letter from Kevin Jenkins, President and Chief Executive Officer, World Vision International

World Vision’s response to the earthquake began immediately. Many of our colleagues were victims themselves and were struggling to find their families in the rubble. Nevertheless, enough were able to respond that we had our first distributions within 24 hours.