Haiti Earthquake: Assessing the Damage and Beginning to Rebuild

On August 14th, a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti. Its epicenter was in the southern region surrounding Les Cayes, where buildOn constructs schools that serve tens of thousands of people in Haiti’s poorest communities. More than 2,200 Haitian’s lost their lives and hundreds of thousands more were left homeless and cut off from basic needs in the quake’s aftermath. Fortunately, our Haiti Team members are all safe, but damage and devastation are extensive.

As roads that were impassable begin to re-open, our team has begun to assess the damage to the 178 schools we have constructed in the region. Many of these buildings that are so important to economically impoverished rural communities sustained significant damage and will need extensive repairs or complete rebuilds.

As our team continues to assess the impact of the recent earthquake on schools in Haiti, two key trends are clear: 1) buildOn’s earthquake-resistant schools are standing strong with minimal damage. Today, many buildOn schools are providing shelter and vital community services. 2) Other non-buildOn schools in the area fared significantly worse, and many were completely destroyed. We’re committed to building at least 36 schools in Haiti with communities that had their classrooms destroyed.

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This interactive map shows the locations of buildOn schools in southern Haiti (orange dots) and the locations and impact zones of the earthquakes and aftershocks (red and yellow dots):

Since 2010’s Haiti earthquake, buildOn has partnered with Architects Without Borders to build and retrofit schools with an earthquake-resistant design that likely saved lives in the recent quake and left buildOn schools standing to provide vital community support and shelter as tropical storms recently made landfall.

As Skyler Badenoch, CEO of buildOn partner Hope For Haiti, reports on the ground in Haiti: “What’s AMAZING to see is that almost every buildOn school that I’ve seen has had minimal damage. There’s a road in a community named Marceline where every single home is destroyed and leveled, and where many people lost their lives. There’s one building standing on that road, and it’s the buildOn school. It’s being used as a shelter, and we did humanitarian food distribution there yesterday to the pastor, whose wife died in the building next to the school.”

We’re grateful our earthquake-resistant building practices prevented loss of life and are helping to provide immediate relief, but no building is 100% earthquake proof and repairs will be essential.

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We will continue to provide updates as repairs and rebuilding gets underway. In the meantime, please support our efforts if you can and keep the people of Haiti in your thoughts and prayers.

Help rebuild schools and break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy in Haiti

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