For years, Tzu Chi USA has had a very special place in its heart for Haiti.
Yet, on Saturday, August 14, 2021, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the southwest portion of the country – killing at least 1,419 of our brothers and sisters, including those living in the commune of Maniche, where Tzu Chi volunteers distributed rice to needy families just two years ago. We grieve for all who have passed, and we offer our condolences to those who have lost any loved ones in this tragedy.
At the same time, we are currently mobilizing our disaster response, even as tropical storms, the threat of COVID-19, road blockages, and other challenges arise. Most immediate needs appear to be shelter, water, food, and medical attention for the injured and ill; we sincerely hope to do our best to relieve this suffering as soon as possible.
Here's our story:
On January 12, 2010 one of the deadliest earthquakes in history struck Haiti.
It destroyed close to 280,000 buildings and killed nearly 230,000 people. Three million people were affected.
Just six days after, a disaster assessment team from Tzu Chi USA flew to the Dominican Republic and drove into Port-Au-Prince. Since then, Tzu Chi USA, along with Tzu Chi volunteers from Canada, began immediate disaster relief.
Eight free clinics also served more than 15,000 patients. The “Food For Work” program recruited 2,400 people to clean up the community, rewarding them with food supplies for each day.
Gift Of Hope
In January 2012, a ground breaking ceremony launched the construction of two schools in Port-au-Prince.
On May 17th, 2013, an opening ceremony was held for the College Marie-Anne and Christ the King Secretarial School. Attendees hoped for better times ahead.
Cash for relief
In December 2014, “Konbit Lakay (Sweet Home) Blue Hills” Tzu Chi Cash For Relief program launched in response to the flood in Cap-Hatien, Haiti.
Konbit Lakay Blue Hills” Cash For Relief program provided job opportunities to 1600 people within five days.
Tzu Chi In Haiti
In 1998, Tzu Chi Foundation launched a clothing drive after Hurricane Georges and Category five Hurricane Mitch swept through the Caribbean. Four containers of clothes were later distributed in Haiti on March 1st, 1999, marking the beginning of Tzu Chi efforts in Haiti.
Ten years later, after four severe storms brought destruction and ruin to Haiti in 2008, the Tzu Chi assessment team returned to Haiti for the second time.
With an invitation to the White House, volunteers met with then President René Préval in Port-au-Prince.
The assessment team also realized a shortage of food at local schools. As a result, they hosted two large scale food distributions for local students & their families on Jan. 15th and 16th of 2009, benefiting 3,343 households in poverty stricken areas of Petion-Ville and Cité Soleil, Port-au-Prince.
Over the past 20 years, from 1998 through the 2010 earthquake, and even until now, Tzu Chi volunteers and their love have never left Haiti. For them, it’s more than compassion, it’s a commitment.
After the 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck southwestern Haiti on Saturday, August 14, 2021, we are mobilizing our disaster response. You can help.