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Haitians have also shown tremendous resilience after the earthquake and every year subsequently as they face a new hurricane season. Photo: UNDP Haiti / Pierre Michel Jean

Eight years ago today a devastating earthquake struck Haiti killing 200,000 people, including 102 United Nations personnel. More than 300,000 were injured and over 1.5 million Haitians were displaced. Today, our hearts are with the Haitian women, men and children and all our colleagues’ families and friends who lost their loved ones during this tragic event.

Haiti is among the countries most exposed to natural disasters, and its vulnerability increases with climate change, the degradation of the environment and the irrational use of space, especially in cities.

From 1975 to 2012, disasters linked to climate have caused annual damages and losses amounting to approximately 2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Eight years ago, in just a few minutes the earthquake caused the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere to lose 120 percent of its GDP.

Haiti’s path to recovery has been particularly difficult, also considering the country’s challenges as a Small Island Developing State: extremely vulnerable to debt, unemployment, climate change and sea level rise.

But Haitians have also shown tremendous resilience after the earthquake and every year subsequently as they face a new hurricane season. Many continue to face multiple challenges, including displacement, food insecurity and lack of access to clean water and sanitation, and country still needs international support as Haitians pave their own way towards sustainable development.

Results:

  • UNDP has partnered with the people of Haiti to build back better after the earthquake and after several hurricanes in the past eight years.
  • Over 300,000 Haitians were temporarily employed—40 percent of them women—to remove debris, recycle material, and help rebuild their communities
  • All debris was removed
  • Over 2,300 km2 were protected, 400 hectares reforested 

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