I am writing to send along a message of gratitude to you from GeoHazards International’s Haiti Field Officer Gefthé Dévilmé. Gefthé lives in Anse-à-Veau, near the recent earthquake's epicenter, and he is leading our on-the-ground efforts in the affected region. He wanted to thank all individual contributors and send a special thanks to Ashraf Habibullah at Computers & Structures, Inc., the Moran family, and Stacy Bartoletti at Degenkolb Engineers who reached out asking how they could help.
Your contributions are enabling our local team to support on-the-ground needs. Here are some highlights since our last update:
We are hiring local people in affected areas to address immediate needs. This "cash for work" approach infuses money into the local economy, which helps communities to recover. The two teams pictured here are in charge of collecting damage data (left) and outreach in churches, markets, health facilities, and homes (right). All photos in this message were taken by members of these teams. Photos: Peterson Vincent
Gefthé trained a team of local people about earthquake aftershocks and how to stay safe in post-disaster settings. They were so eager to learn that the one-hour training extended to three hours. Trainees then conducted much of the outreach in subsequent photos. Photo: Ronald Surpris
Distributing tarps to families in affected areas that had been overlooked. This immediate need was identified by Gefthé, who has been staying informed of ongoing relief efforts. Photos: Gefthé Dévilmé, GHI
Distributing flyers in earthquake-damaged villages, explaining what to do before, during and after earthquakes and tsunamis in order to stay safe. The flyers explain that aftershocks are to be expected after damaging earthquakes and offer safety information, such as to avoid damaged buildings in case of an aftershock. Photo: Joseph Louis
Outreach in churches drew crowds. In the church pictured here, about 250 people attended, with some standing outside in an “overflow” area. Sadly, the pastor of this church lost his mother to the earthquake. Photo: Gefthé Dévilmé, GHI
Outreach in public markets, where there was much interest. People are eager to receive information about earthquake safety. The backs of the team’s yellow shirts say in Haitian Creole: “Earthquakes do not kill people, but rather the buildings. So let’s rebuild better than before.” Photo: Joseph Louis
Door-to-door outreach, including in difficult-to-access villages, many times having to go by foot. Our team spoke with earthquake-affected people, taking the time to answer their questions. People said that they needed this information. They asked for our team to return to provide further training. Photo: Paul Evenson
Continuing our community-sourced data collection effort in partnership with Structural Extreme Events Reconnaissance (StEER) Network. Local non-technical assessors were trained on collecting building damage data on an app, which is then reviewed remotely by engineers. We are expanding our efforts to reach more areas and to look at housing in addition to key community buildings (e.g., schools, medical facilities, churches, and government buildings). We are actively coordinating and sharing data with humanitarian agencies to help inform needs. Photo: Jean Philippe Dody
Having built relationships of trust over several years, our local team is particularly well placed to help. We will continue to support their efforts in improving the recovery and building resilience for future hazard events throughout Haiti. Thank you for making this possible and for your trust in our team.
Veronica Cedillos, President & CEO
P.S. We are pleased to invite you to a virtual event on “Devastation, Recovery, and Resilience: Haiti’s enduring struggle with natural disasters” which will feature GeoHazards International’s Haiti Representative Dr. Garmalia Mentor-William along with two other expert panelists. The event, hosted by Indiana University, will be Wednesday, September 22 from 7-8 PM Eastern Standard Time. Register here. See flyer below for more details.
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