Welcome to MCC Haiti.

1962: Responding to Disasters

1962: Responding to Disasters

Haiti 60th anniversary mark-1.jpg

Men anpil, chay pa lou.
"Many hands make the load lighter."

Over the last 60 years, MCC has worked alongside Haitian partners, putting our hands together in healing suffering, cultivating the soil, supporting the vulnerable, and holding on to peace. In 2018, MCC in Haiti will celebrate this legacy through a series of six stories highlighting each decade.

The beginnings of MCC's work in Haiti were connected to disaster response, as MCC's initial delegation to Haiti was in response to Hurricane Hazel in 1957. On October 3, 1962, just 4 years after beginning work in Haiti, MCC responded to the aftermath of Hurricane Flora in south of the country. 

 

1962: Hurricane Flora

 Homes destroyed by Hurricane Flora in Cotes de Fer, Haiti in 1962

Homes destroyed by Hurricane Flora in Cotes de Fer, Haiti in 1962

 Hurricane Flora struck the southern peninsula of Haiti, leaving approximately 100,000 Haitians homeless, according to Church World Service. 

Hurricane Flora struck the southern peninsula of Haiti, leaving approximately 100,000 Haitians homeless, according to Church World Service. 

 MCC partnered with Mennonite Disaster Services (MDS, pictured here) to complete a disaster response project after Hurricane Flora.

MCC partnered with Mennonite Disaster Services (MDS, pictured here) to complete a disaster response project after Hurricane Flora.

 MDS workers lived in tents during the response project to be closer to the work and community

MDS workers lived in tents during the response project to be closer to the work and community

 Workers digging the footing for one of the ten twelve-room cement block houses being built in the Cotes de Fer area of Haiti's southern peninsula after Hurricane Flora.

Workers digging the footing for one of the ten twelve-room cement block houses being built in the Cotes de Fer area of Haiti's southern peninsula after Hurricane Flora.

 MCC and MDS workers served side by side with local residents to rebuild their homes. Pictured, workers are preparing mortar.

MCC and MDS workers served side by side with local residents to rebuild their homes. Pictured, workers are preparing mortar.

 Local children joined in the rebuilding efforts. These children are helping carry sand from the beach to be used in making cement blocks. 

Local children joined in the rebuilding efforts. These children are helping carry sand from the beach to be used in making cement blocks. 

 "Men anpil, chay pa lou"—many hands make the load light! Pictured above, cement blocks being prepared for homes.

"Men anpil, chay pa lou"—many hands make the load light! Pictured above, cement blocks being prepared for homes.

 A total of 280 families benefitted from the homes built during the Hurricane Flora response. Each family received full legal ownership of their home in addition to a small plot of land. One of the finished homes is pictured above.

A total of 280 families benefitted from the homes built during the Hurricane Flora response. Each family received full legal ownership of their home in addition to a small plot of land. One of the finished homes is pictured above.


2010: Earthquake in Port-au-Prince

The earthquake on January 12 2010 devastated Port-au-Prince and the surrounding communities. MCC built on decades of experience with both short- and long-term disaster response in mounting the largest disaster response in the history of MCC in Haiti.

 Homes, businesses and government buildings were destroyed after an earthquake struck Port-au-Prince on January 12, 2010. Pictured are homes destroyed in Petionville.  

Homes, businesses and government buildings were destroyed after an earthquake struck Port-au-Prince on January 12, 2010. Pictured are homes destroyed in Petionville.  

 For immediate response, MCC provided canned meat and material aid to local communities. Nicholas Mardoche, pictured above, carries a case of canned meat from a delivery truck to a storehouse in the camp where he lived.

For immediate response, MCC provided canned meat and material aid to local communities. Nicholas Mardoche, pictured above, carries a case of canned meat from a delivery truck to a storehouse in the camp where he lived.

  MCC worked with Haitian partner SKDE  to build a 50 duplex homes for 100 families in Cabaret, about 25 miles outside of Port au Prince. Andrea Vilme and her children moved into one of these houses after spending three years in a tent camp after the earthquake.

MCC worked with Haitian partner SKDE to build a 50 duplex homes for 100 families in Cabaret, about 25 miles outside of Port au Prince. Andrea Vilme and her children moved into one of these houses after spending three years in a tent camp after the earthquake.

 In response to the cholera outbreak and lack of potable water following the earthquake, MCC built 32 kiosks and 11 fountains to provide clean water for residents in and around Desarmes. Pictured above, Germain Isaac waits for his water jug to fill.

In response to the cholera outbreak and lack of potable water following the earthquake, MCC built 32 kiosks and 11 fountains to provide clean water for residents in and around Desarmes. Pictured above, Germain Isaac waits for his water jug to fill.

First person account: "Dapre gwo experyans nou te fe apre evenman 12 Janvier, te telman en moun ki nan nesesite, moun kay yo te kraze pedi tout sa yo te gen ou sitiyasyon kit e vreman difisil. Gouvenman te bay yon otorizasyon pasyel pou empote ed materyel nan kad ijan, men sa te vin rive nan yon moman ak ladwann li pat fasil pou nou jewnn ed sa yo an ijans, vreman poun pote sekou. Nou te aprann anpil sou sityasyon sou poun stoke ed materyel nan biwo MCC pou nou ki gen tan pote sekou vit vit le gen yon sitiyasyon dezas ki vini."

"Since the impact of the experience of January 12th, an event that caused many to lose their homes, people were experiencing a very difficult situation. The government gave a partial authorization for importing material aid in the case of emergency, but this came at a time when it was difficult to get things through customs and even to find aid for us to hand out in the crisis. We learned a lot about stocking material aid at the office now so that we are able to disperse the aid quickly if a disaster comes."
 
—Herve Alcinna, Logistics Manager, MCC Port-au-Prince
 Pictured above, Herve Alcinna loading material aid in MCC Haiti storage facility on office grounds in preparation for Hurricane Irma. As a result of the significant earthquake response, MCC in Haiti began prepositioning material aid in Haiti rather than waiting to place orders after disasters in order to be able to respond more quickly. 

Pictured above, Herve Alcinna loading material aid in MCC Haiti storage facility on office grounds in preparation for Hurricane Irma. As a result of the significant earthquake response, MCC in Haiti began prepositioning material aid in Haiti rather than waiting to place orders after disasters in order to be able to respond more quickly. 


2016: Hurricane Matthew

More than 7 years after the earthquake, Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti on October 4, 2017. A category four hurricane, Matthew was the worst storm to hit Haiti in 50 years. MCC responded with projects in Southern Haiti, in urban Port-au-Prince and in the mountainous communities of the Artibonite. 

 The aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in downtown Port-au-Prince. 

The aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in downtown Port-au-Prince. 

"For us, as important as the work we do after a disaster, is how we do it. We want to be responsive to the needs of vulnerable communities, we want to respond quickly and efficiently and we want to respond to disasters in a way that is consistent with MCC's values. Given Haiti's vulnerability to disasters, this means we also need to keep assessing how we can improve. After the earthquake, this meant pre-positioning aid in Haiti to make rapid responses possible."
 
—Rebecca Shetler Fast, MCC Haiti Country Representative
 Pictured left to right: Recipients of MCC rapid reponse to relief: Kasandra Lougen, Sarditren Dete, Antovan Enit, from the Voudray community of Cite Soleil, standing where each of their three houses washed away by  Hurricane Matthew .

Pictured left to right: Recipients of MCC rapid reponse to relief: Kasandra Lougen, Sarditren Dete, Antovan Enit, from the Voudray community of Cite Soleil, standing where each of their three houses washed away by Hurricane Matthew.

 Flooding from Hurricane Matthew contaminated the drinking water for residents in the Voudray community of Cité Soleil, one of the poorest parts of Port-au-Prince.  MCC's rapid response  included water purification tablets.

Flooding from Hurricane Matthew contaminated the drinking water for residents in the Voudray community of Cité Soleil, one of the poorest parts of Port-au-Prince. MCC's rapid response included water purification tablets.

  Fledana Mezi , 7 years old, holding an MCC relief blanket in the community of Biket.

Fledana Mezi, 7 years old, holding an MCC relief blanket in the community of Biket.

 Although Haiti's south was hit most directly by Hurricane Matthew, communities like Wondo, high in the mountains of Haiti's Artibonite department, are particularly vulnerable to tropical storms, as heavy winds and rains can quickly wash away valuable soil and destroy entire crops. Pictured above, Antoine Calix in front of his garden in Wondo, Haiti. His garden was replanted after Hurricane Matthew as part of an  MCC-supported food security project  in the remote mountainside community.

Although Haiti's south was hit most directly by Hurricane Matthew, communities like Wondo, high in the mountains of Haiti's Artibonite department, are particularly vulnerable to tropical storms, as heavy winds and rains can quickly wash away valuable soil and destroy entire crops. Pictured above, Antoine Calix in front of his garden in Wondo, Haiti. His garden was replanted after Hurricane Matthew as part of an MCC-supported food security project in the remote mountainside community.


2017: Hurricane Irma

Less than a year after Hurricane Matthew, Haiti experienced heavy rainfall and damage from Hurricane Irma. Affecting already vulnerable families in the rural Artibonite, rainfall from Irma destroyed gardens, livestock, and livelihoods as a result of flash flooding. 

 MCC workers  waded through flooded areas  the day after Irma to speak with the La Chapelle community in the Artibonite. After consulting with community members and assessing damage, MCC enacted short-term aid assistance followed by a long-term plan to rebuild stronger gardens in the area. 

MCC workers waded through flooded areas the day after Irma to speak with the La Chapelle community in the Artibonite. After consulting with community members and assessing damage, MCC enacted short-term aid assistance followed by a long-term plan to rebuild stronger gardens in the area. 

"I think it is not only important but necessary for MCC to work in the Artibonite, because there are many hurricanes every year and they hit some areas especially hard. In my opinion, the people in charge aren't always there when this happens. There were many people in the mountains who won't get any help after a hurricane, and MCC works in those remote and hard-hit places with the people who are in the most need." 
 
—Jean Remy Azor, Program Coordinator MCC Desarmes
 MCC worked alongside local Civil Protection Authorities to distribute relief aid to  those most affected by Hurricane Irma. 

MCC worked alongside local Civil Protection Authorities to distribute relief aid to those most affected by Hurricane Irma. 

 Libsenia Bogmwen received MCC material aid in La Chappelle. MCC distributed comforters, MCC relief buckets and water treatment tablets.

Libsenia Bogmwen received MCC material aid in La Chappelle. MCC distributed comforters, MCC relief buckets and water treatment tablets.


In addition to larger disaster response projects, MCC responds, as we are able, to smaller disasters, such as an October 2017 fire in the Boulard neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. 

 Residents of the Boulard neighborhood fled down narrow passages like these to escape a raging fire that destroyed many homes in the area. Many residents had to sleep in these passageways for days afterward because they could not return to their homes.

Residents of the Boulard neighborhood fled down narrow passages like these to escape a raging fire that destroyed many homes in the area. Many residents had to sleep in these passageways for days afterward because they could not return to their homes.

 After the fire, MCC distributed relief kits and comforters to those who had been affected. Pictured,  Rosemonde Joseph , a recipient of the distribution. Joseph had been staying with her neighbor since the fire destroyed her own home and those of many of her other neighbors.

After the fire, MCC distributed relief kits and comforters to those who had been affected. Pictured, Rosemonde Joseph, a recipient of the distribution. Joseph had been staying with her neighbor since the fire destroyed her own home and those of many of her other neighbors.

Good Friday on Mon Kalve

Good Friday on Mon Kalve

Working towards a livable Haiti

Working towards a livable Haiti