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TDH in Haiti


Combating malnutrition ● Water and sanitation ● Emergency aid after the earthquake


In Haiti since 1989, Terre des hommes (Tdh) takes care of children suffering from malnutrition, develops access to water and sanitation, and brings emergency aid after the disasters - earthquake and cyclones - that hit the country.

The situation of the children

  • 37.5% of the population is under 14
  • 72 children in 1,000 die before they are 5 (CH: 5‰)
  • 24% of the children suffer from chronic malnutrition
  • Before the earthquake, 60% of the population had no access to basic services
  • 1.5 million children were affected by the earthquake


Even before the earthquake, the state of health and child protection was already very alarming: four children out of ten lived in absolute poverty, 23% of the under-fives suffered from delayed growth, one third of the children did not live at home, 173,000 worked as unpaid domestic servants ("restavek"), 2,000 children became victims of trafficking yearly. On January 12th, 2010, an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale devastated the capital city and its surroundings. Hundreds of thousands of children and adults lost their families, their homes and their work within a few dreadful minutes. They were forced to go and find refuge in other regions, which also brought them into danger. After the cyclones of the 2010 summer, the Haitians were struck by a terrible cholera epidemic, and then by violent riots related to the recent elections.


  • Fighting malnutrition by community activity: Tdh combats malnutrition by concerted action with the communities: use of local products, encouragement of breast-feeding, water disinfection. Children suffering from malnutrition are looked after by mobile clinics in their villages, and the most severe cases are admitted to the units for nutritional stabilisation.
  • Access to water, hygiene and sanitation: Tdh constructs bores, catchment points and latrines, and disinfects water. The work of promoting hygiene in the villages allows local capacity to be reinforced and minimises disease risks.
  • Emergency aid: Following the earthquake Tdh increased its activities around Les Cayes. The Foundation also set up emergency interventions for nutrition, water, sanitation, hygiene and child protection in the areas struck by the earthquake (Leogane, Petit Goave, Grand Goave).

Results in 2010

  • TDH's emergency intervention benefited 80,000 people and the Foundation employed 200 Haitians.
  • 43,000 disaster victims received shelters and/or basic necessities.
  • 9,350 people got back their access to drinking water, and 1,500 latrines were built.
  • 25,000 children were examined, 1,100 children suffering from malnutrition were treated, 1,850 pregnant or breastfeeding women were examined thoroughly.
  • 750 children and their families were followed up and given help (support, family reunification, child registration). Nine recreation centres were built and offered activities to more than 4,000 children.


Natasha, alone with her grandmother, surrounded by wreckage.

Natasha and her family suffered the full force of the 12th January earthquake. Today she has gone back to school, and her grandmother tries to get her shop working again, wiped out by the disaster.

Natasha is 12 and had lived with her grandmother and three brothers since their mother died and their father abandoned them. Her elder brother, who, at 18, looked after and protected the whole family, sadly did not survive the earthquake. Fleeing their completely destroyed house, Natasha and her grandmother found refuge in a church, but became separated from the two other little boys. Natasha soon went to the children's recreation centre run by Tdh where she is involved in several activities, some educational, some play, all of which help her to get over her trauma. The youth workers at the centre, alerted to her history, searched for her two little brothers. One of them had been able to find friends of his grandmother in Port-au-Prince and the other was discovered elsewhere, but also with friends. The family is now reunited, and Terre des hommes and the community have built a shelter to protect them from bad weather and flooding.

A Tdh social worker explains: "We are still following-up this family and seeing how we can go on helping them. The three children have gone back to school. We are helping the grandmother to reopen the shop she had before the earthquake, but she survives above all thanks to her faith and the aid she gives and receives from the whole community."

Haiti in figures

  • Population: 9.9 million (CH: 7.6)
  • Human development index: 149th country of 182 (CH: 13th)
  • Life expectation from birth: 61 years
  • 76% of the population lives on less than $2 a day

What TDH can do with:

  • CHF 25.-: Look after a child during his stay in a unit for nutritional treatment;
  • CHF 100.-: Give a day's training on child nutrition to 10 people.

Presence of TDH in Haiti

DELEGATE: Olivier Le Guillou ● TDH STAFF: 220 local employees and 20 expatriates ● INTERVENTION AREAS: Les Cayes, Leogane, Petit Goave, Grand Goave, Camp Perrin, Torbeck, Arniquet, Chantal, Port Salut ● PARTNER ORGANISATIONS: Médecins Sans Frontières Spain, Médecins du Monde Suisse, Terre des Hommes Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg ● BUDGET 2011: 8 millions CHF.

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