After Haiti’s devastating earthquake, Compassion responded immediately to look for and care for the nearly 23,000 Compassion-assisted babies, children and students living in the hardest-hit areas. It worked with its 69 partner churches in Haiti to quickly provide food, clean water, temporary shelter and medical assistance for the children and their families.
By coordinating with country staff members from Haiti and the Dominican Republic to support the churches, the child development organization touched thousand of lives without delay. And as support was available, Compassion churches extended a hand to the communities they serve. During this time many who lost loved ones, had their homes destroyed, were injured, or felt overwhelmed and frightened discovered the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
To date, Compassion has successfully accounted for nearly all of the Compassion-assisted children involved in the Haiti earthquake.
Jan. 12, 2010
On Jan. 12, 2010, at 4:53 p.m. local time, a catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. At least 230,000 people died, approximately 300,000 were injured, and 1 million were left homeless. The quake’s epicenter was near the town of Léogâne, approximately 16 miles west of the capital city. An estimated 95,000 buildings collapsed or were severely damaged.
Compassion responded immediately by assisting the Haiti office with locating all office personnel in Port-au-Prince, as well as the staff members of 69 implementing church partners (ICPs) impacted by the quake. They sought out the 22,800 Compassion beneficiaries living in the hardest-hit areas and, as of October 2010, fewer than 100 children were unaccounted for.
Though the media reported on the difficulties getting relief supplies to the most needy, Compassion responded to individual needs swiftly and effectively through the local churches. Compassion’s field office and church partners in the Dominican Republic took the initiative to support Haitian churches by donating and delivering supplies within a few days. Compassion’s partner churches in Haiti were instrumental in distributing food and water, meeting medical demands, and providing temporary shelter.
Once immediate relief needs were met, Compassion met with the local staff and church partners to determine needs for ongoing relief and to develop strategies to move forward.
Minutes before the earthquake hit, Dan Woolley and David Hames arrived at the Hotel Montana in Haiti. Woolley, a Compassion staff member from Colorado, was found alive in the rubble 65 hours later. Hames, a contracted videographer on assignment with Compassion, did not survive.