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More than 11 years after one of the worst earthquake’s in Haiti’s history, a 7.2 magnitude quake struck again in the country’s southwest on August 14, 2021. The number of confirmed dead and missing are continuing to rise. As recovery efforts are underway, the ongoing threat of COVID-19, socio-political unrest, and catastrophic weather events including hurricanes, tropical storms, and flash floods looms overhead. Despite all this, Tzu Chi is committed to help.

With your generosity, Tzu Chi volunteers on the ground can distribute the following necessities:

Aquatabs® Water Purification Tablets

Medical Kit

Eco-Blankets*

Multi-Purpose Beds**

The first round of food packages, which aim to feed 5,000 families for up to 4 weeks, include:

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Rice
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Shredded Corn
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Cooking Oil
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Macaroni
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Spaghetti
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Beans
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Rice
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Shredded Corn
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Cooking Oil
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Spaghetti
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Macaroni
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Beans

* Warm and durable fleece blankets made from recycled PET plastic bottles thanks to DA.AI Technology. Learn more here.

** Jing Si Multi-Purpose Folding Beds may be used as a bed, double-sided bench, recliner, and a storage bin. Their portability and waterproof, plastic construction make them an ideal choice for dwellings prone to flooding. Read more here.

✝ Based on estimated family/household sizes of 4-6 people.

Together, we can do more. Make a donation today to support relief items that will directly reach the hands of earthquake survivors in Haiti.

Here is the latest on Tzu Chi USA’s relief mission:

September 2021

September 16

The first Haiti Earthquake Relief and Care Team from Tzu Chi America, has successfully completed the first phase of their mission. Prior to returning to the US, the team tested negative for COVID-19 infection in Haiti. Happily, everyone is safe and healthy. Over the last 16 days, we worked with many other groups to overcome the turbulence and difficulties in Haiti. Our team cooperated with them and contributed with joy. No matter how tired we felt, everyone always wore a bright and heart-felt smile. We successfully distributed food and supplies to a total of 6,250 households, held two training sessions for local volunteers, and hosted a distribution of rice and hot food. We have also entrusted Sœurs Salésiennes and Caritas Ayiti Haiti to distribute to another 7,750 households on our behalf.

However, many in Haiti are still suffering, and the road to reconstruction will remain an arduous one. Tzu Chi volunteers will continue to pay close attention to the situation in Haiti, and keep the victims of the earthquake company as they embark on the path towards a more hopeful future. Our efforts will be ongoing – to be continued.

September 15

After Tzu Chi’s Haiti Earthquake Response Team is unable to fly to Les Cayes for a fourth distribution, it requests the urgent support of the Taiwan Technical Mission in the Republic of Haiti, part of the Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund. With their help, 1,000 households receive two bags of rice, bringing the total distribution amount to 2,000 bags.

Tzu Chi is extremely grateful for the partnership and support of the Taiwan Technical Mission in the Republic of Haiti to ensure families in Les Cayes do not go hungry.

September 14

Before the first Haiti Earthquake Response Team’s departure from Haiti to the US, team members head out early to conduct PCR tests to screen for COVID-19.

That afternoon they also met with Gabrielle Paul, a local volunteer from Jérémie, Haiti, and shared about Tzu Chi’s recent and upcoming collaborations with Caritas Haiti. The Catholic organization has now committed to creating a list of 5,000 disaster survivor families, on top of assisting in preparations for food distribution in Jérémie.

Earlier in the day, the Earthquake Response Team meets with Vice President of Gigi Depot Dashka Bennett to discuss wholesale orders of foods for later relief distributions. Then, the Team joins the Ambassador from Taiwan to Haiti, Richard Wenn-jian Ku, and a priest from the Congregation du Saint-Esprit to discuss further earthquake relief plans.

September 13

After a previous Tzu Chi volunteer training on 9/4, a second session takes place at the OECC’s Port-au-Prince office. Attendees learn how to fill out case forms, the protocol for conducting home visits, and how to summarize cases via PowerPoint slides. Finally, volunteers receive a free first aid kit to take home, prepared by Tzu Chi volunteers in the US.

At the same time, the OECC tries to send Tzu Chi relief materials shipped in from Taiwan but faced difficulty due to road closures from gangs once again.

September 12

At the OECC (Overseas Engineering & Construction Co.) office, Tzu Chi Haiti Earthquake Response Team Member Curtis Hsing gathered three volunteers who had participated in relief activities during the 2010 Haiti earthquake. They included Romulus Pierro, who was a driver and translator in 2010. Now, he has established a security company to provide security tasks for the Director of USAID. Also present was Jonathan Cancoul, who was 14 years old at the time. In 2010, he came to volunteer almost every day. Now, at 27, he is both a salesperson and a model. Finally, Francius Leone joined them. Eleven years ago, Tzu Chi went to the ROCA Elementary School to distribute hot food and met him there when he was school principal. Now at 72, he has retired, but still cooks for the children, makes uniforms, and helps students at school.

Concurrently, Tzu Chi volunteer James Chen met with members of the OECC to discuss future collaborations. They agreed to provide two meeting rooms for Tzu Chi to conduct volunteer training from September 13-14. Additionally, they will provide trucks to help Tzu Chi deliver materials from Tzu Chi in Taiwan to Les Cayes, and assist the storage of materials there in the Centre Diocesain Des Arts et Metiers Des Cayes, which may also be sent to other partner organizations for the next distribution.

September 11

A third Tzu Chi humanitarian aid distribution was held at the Centre Diocesain Des Arts et Metiers Des Cayes and benefited 1,000 households.

Dashka Bennett, Vice President of Gigi Depot, the food products distributor in Port-au-Prince from whom Tzu Chi Volunteers purchased some of the food items provided to care recipients, came to Les Cayes to lend a helping hand as well.

After the distribution the team will return to Port-Au-Prince, and have a meeting with Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Taiwan HQ ‘s and Dharma Master Cheng Yen.

September 10

A second Tzu Chi humanitarian aid distribution takes place in Les Cayes, Haiti, reaching 1,250 families impacted by the earthquake.

The event is held in collaboration with Caritas Haiti. Each household receives a large bag of rice and a carryable food package filled with beans , shredded corn, pasta like spaghetti and macaroni, cooking oil, and Aquatabs® Water Purifying Pills.

Before the distribution, Tzu Chi’s Haiti Earthquake Response Team visits a Caritas church that had collapsed during last month’s disaster, exploring possible rebuilding aid.

September 9

In anticipation of a distribution on September 11 at the Centre Diocesain Des Arts et Metiers Des Cayes, Veteran Tzu Chi volunteer James Chen teaches a small group of cooking volunteers how to prepare Jing Si Rice.

The rice, a symbol of Dharma Master Cheng Yen’s care and love, is specially designed to be cooked without the use of hot water or heating elements – making it a nearly disaster-proof meal.

The volunteers are expected to anticipate up to 50 guests at the upcoming hot meal distribution, which will be attended largely by Les Cayes residents living in tents and makeshift dwellings since the earthquake last month.

September 8

Tzu Chi’s Haiti Earthquake Response Team and fellow Tzu Chi volunteers travel to Les Cayes, where they are hosting their first relief distribution after last month’s earthquake.

Taking place at École Notre Dame (run by the Sœurs Salésiennes), approximately 1,000 families receive two large bags of rice. There to ensure peace and safety at the distribution are 45 officers from the Haiti National Police, fulfilling Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s promise of protection.

September 7

The Overseas Engineering & Construction Company, the Embassy of Taiwan, and the Haitian government co-host a Donation Ceremony that honors international contributions made after last month’s earthquake.

Held at the Tzu Chi Haiti Warehouse in Port-au-Prince, the ceremony honors the government of Taiwan, the Taiwan Red Cross, and the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation for their effort to donate a collective 25 tons of relief materials.

Accepting these donations on behalf of the people of Haiti is Prime Minister of the Republic of Haiti himself, Ariel Henry. Also in attendance is Ambassador to Haiti from Taiwan, Richard Ku.

Acknowledging Tzu Chi’s contributions – and the great threat posed by gang violence – Prime Minister Henry assures Tzu Chi’s Haiti Earthquake Response Team that “my government will make sure you have all our support.”

September 6

In a planned blockade of Port-au-Prince, gangs take over the city today. Residents are strongly advised to stay at home to avoid unnecessary conflict.

Tzu Chi’s Haiti Earthquake Response Team take heed and spend the day in the safety of the campus of the Overseas Engineering & Construction, Company, located within reach of the US Embassy. Both are heavily patrolled with officers on guard.

Tzu Chi volunteers use this time to hammer out further relief plans and prepare for their first relief distribution on September 8.

September 5

On its way to deliver relief supplies from Port-au-Prince to Les Cayes in the south of the country, one out of five trucks halts on the road due to a flat tire. At the same time, the threat of violence and seizure of goods from gang activity threatens the remaining trucks.

By noon, however, four trucks pass successfully through Martissant, an area heavily populated with gang members. But finally, by 6:30 PM, the final and fifth truck reaches Caritas Haiti’s warehouse in Les Cayes and begins unloading.

September 4

The Tzu Chi Family is growing. A volunteer training is taking place in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Volunteers are the lifeline of our mission, but, more importantly, they are key to the success of long-term recovery efforts in Haiti. After the training, a group of volunteers learned to cook Jing Si Rice, a special rice formulated to be cooked even when hot water is not available. These cooking volunteers will then teach others in Les Cayes, Haiti, where the rice may be shared there, too. Finally, the prepared rice was served as lunch for all volunteers present to sample.

September 3

Now, with community partners like Gigi Depot, the Haiti Earthquake Response team readies for a distribution on Tuesday, September 10 to benefit 2,000 earthquake-impacted families. Items, consisting mainly of food, will be given as two hefty but thoughtfully packed parcels, weighing about 37.4 kg (or nearly 83 lbs) each. They’ll include rice, beans, shredded corn, flat pasta, macaroni, cooking oil, and, perhaps most importantly, Aquatabs® water purification tablets.

It is estimated that these items can support a household of 6-8 people for a whole month. Supplies will be loaded for transport from Port-au-Prince via trucks to earthquake-impacted areas in the south later in the week. It is our sincere hope that we can provide necessary comfort to as many families as we can.

We’re also meeting with team members of Caritas Haiti to better understand how we may collaborate in short and long-term earthquake recovery efforts. As Executive Director Father Jean-Hervé François tells our team: “we can not do anything alone; we are so helpless, at the same time resilient… after this earthquake, the concern is to have safe shelter, but at the same time we have other necessary needs. I believe that this collaboration is very important, and people will be happy to receive the help.”

September 2

Once the dust settles after a major disaster, cleaning up begins. James Ocean, a Tzu Chi Haiti Volunteer and industrial chemist, recognized this when he saw earthquake survivors struggle to do laundry and clean what was left of their homes in Les Cayes.

Inspired, he developed a multipurpose liquid detergent for clothing, dishes, and household surfaces using easy-to-find and inexpensive ingredients. James then began mixing and bottling it to donate to families impacted by last month’s earthquake. James has already produced 160 bottles at $0.35 each, yet Tzu Chi is ready to help him to do more.

Upon arrival in the country, Tzu Chi’s Haiti Earthquake Response Team offers support for the production of another $500 worth of detergent, and fellow volunteers, including Alberthe Merveille are ready to help. The bottles will be distributed at our upcoming distribution to earthquake-impacted families.

September 1

The Tzu Chi Haiti Earthquake Response Team, composed of volunteers from California and New York, arrive in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. They begin work to coordinate disaster relief distribution, as well as mid and long-term recovery.

Haiti, which has long suffered from political instability, is riddled with gang violence. The COVID-19 pandemic has also caused severe damage where preventative and medical resources are weak. Four team members, all experienced in Haiti relief work – including James Chen, Curtis Hsing, Ting Fan, and Jaime Puerta, make up the first unit from the United States to proceed with earthquake relief. Among them, James Chen, who is over 70 years of age, travels frequently between the US and Haiti at his own expense. This is his 79th time serving in Haiti.

At the same time, relief materials from Taiwan are delivered via DHL to the Tzu Chi Haiti Warehouse located in Port-au-Prince. Items from both Tzu Chi and the Taiwan Red Cross are being securely stored there until distribution. They include 250 boxes of rice, 100 Jing Si Multipurpose Foldable Beds, face masks, water buckets, antibacterial soaps, and feminine hygiene products.

August 2021

August 30

Through coordination with the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Taiwan Red Cross, an urgent shipment of relief materials reaches Port-au-Prince. Items include those from the Red Cross as well as Tzu Chi, like rice and Jing Si Multipurpose Foldable beds.

August 28

Challenges begin to arise. A Category 4 hurricane, Ida, threatens to make landfall in the Gulf of Mexico. It is through this region that first aid kits are meant to be shipped out to Haiti. After being rejected by freight companies with the impending storm, Tzu Chi volunteers find a shipping company willing to make the delivery, pending arrival on September 2.

August 25

Nearly a hundred volunteers gather at Tzu Chi USA Headquarters in San Dimas. They assemble more than 6,500 first aid kits to send to earthquake survivors in Haiti. Each kit contained eleven unique items including face masks, alcohol prep pads, hand sanitizer, cotton swabs and balls, adhesive bandages, scissors, gloves, and more.

August 22

Tzu Chi volunteers meet with Les Cayes Mayor Marie Michelle Sylvie Rameau. They learn about the commune’s situation a week on from the earthquake and tour sites that had been destroyed to see the damage first-hand. They also visit a warehouse of the Taiwan Council of Agriculture in Haiti, which may serve as a location to store relief goods before an upcoming distribution in Les Cayes.

August 21

Assessment teams from Tzu Chi Haiti make their way to Les Cayes, close to the epicenter of the earthquake. Their goal is to better understand the situation on the ground, what aid is necessary and how it may be delivered.

Assessment teams were in De Mapou in the commune of Les Cayes, Haiti, to visit the Catholic school, “Sœurs Salésiennes.” With our eyes, we saw the damage last week’s earthquake had done to the building; with our ears, we listened to the events that unfolded that day; with our hearts, we felt the Sisters’ pain.

August 20

On August 20, volunteers from Tzu Chi’s US Headquarters began assembling Medical Kits.

Tzu Chi Education Foundation learned of this urgent task on August 19. Volunteers and team members led the students to immediately begin creating 6,000 handmade cards with prayers and blessings for the disaster survivors in Haiti. These handmade cards will be sent to the affected areas with a medical kit.

Debbie Lee, CEO of the Education Foundation, hopes that the teachers, students and team members of the Education Foundation will pour their love and care into each word and image on the cards: 

While our teachers and students cannot go to the disaster-stricken areas in person to help with the relief effort, we hope that our sincere and warm well-wishes will encourage the suffering "victims" to overcome their difficulties.

August 16

Tropical Storm Grace makes landfall in Haiti, bringing on mudslides and complicating rescue efforts. By EOD, 1,419 people are confirmed dead, with many more missing.

Most immediate needs appear to be shelter, water, food, and medical attention for the injured and ill.

August 14

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake strikes southwestern Haiti, roughly 78 miles or 125 km west of the capital, Port-au-Prince. It comes more than eleven years after a devastating 7.0 magnitude quake rocked the nation, garnering widespread international attention.

2020-2010

Since 2010, Tzu Chi USA has offered consistent humanitarian support to the people of Haiti. This has included disaster relief through earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods, as well as educational support, hunger relief, and much more. Explore the footprints of our previous decade of compassion!

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