Forgotten crises: Efforts to tackle the long-term consequences of the earthquake in Haiti

small houses along a small, polluted canal

Haiti: Many years after the earthquake, the destruction is still visible, © Malteser International

13.11.2020 - Article

In 2010, an earthquake caused devastating damage in Haiti. The consequences are visible to this very day. Around a half of the inhabitants are suffering hardship, while roughly five million people are malnourished.

Germany is providing assistance via a micro-project run by the Malteser which, among others, is benefiting the Deseus Family.

“A bowl of bread soup”

A woman with some of her children, one of them sitting on her lap
Minouche Deseus with some of her Children© Malteser International

Minouche Deseus is a single parent with seven children. Like so many Haitians, she and her family are only too familiar with hunger. For several years now, the family has lived on a bowl of bread soup and a few moringa leaves every day. “I’ve often eaten almost nothing so that the children have more”, she says.

Traces of destruction still visible today

The family lives in a makeshift house made of steel beams and blocks of concrete. Pieces of the unstable construction are always falling down. The fear that the house could collapse one day is a constant worry.

Traces of the 2010 earthquake can not only be seen in the Deseus family home. According to official statistics, 316,000 people died back then. It was the most devastating earthquake of the 21 st century at that point – but only one of many disasters which regularly hit the island state. It was followed by an outbreak of cholera and Hurricane Matthew in 2016. To this day, the country has been unable to return to normality.

“An investment in the future”: Breeding goats for more financial independence

A woman with two goats in front of a small house
“An investment in the future”: Minouche Deseus with her two goats© Malteser International

However, people are finding ways to overcome the crisis, in some cases with the help of the German Government. Germany has made available around 1.5 million euro for a project in Haiti run by the Malteser. The project provides concrete help for people such as the Deseus family. Minouche Deseus has been given two goats, which she lovingly feeds and cares for. She wants to use them to start breeding goats on a small scale. “The goats are an investment in the future”, she says enthusiastically. “I hope I can earn a steady income so that I can provide for my children. I’m very grateful to the Malteser.”

Assistance long after the disaster

Ten years ago, the images of the destruction after the earthquake were broadcast around the globe. Today, however, the world is less aware of the long-lasting consequences. This is making it increasingly difficult for relief organisations to mobilise donations for people which the country still urgently needs: Haiti is the poorest country in the northern hemisphere. Germany will continue to provide funding for people like the Deseus family in order to give Haitians hope and prospects for the future.


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