Haiti: Ten years after disastrous earthquake

58 Canadians died in quake

Ten-year-old Wisnerley was doing her homework when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on Jan.12, 2010.

In the earthquake, 220,000 people were killed, 330,000 injured and two million displaced.

“The ground was shaking, people were running, and even voodoo practitioners were calling Jesus because they didn’t understand what was happening,” said Wisnerley.

Wisnerley, a sponsored child in Compassion International’s child development program at the time, was just one of the millions affected by the catastrophic earthquake.

Compassion remembers all who were affected. Compassion itself lost 63 children, one staff member and one contractor. Hundreds more were injured or lost loved ones.

One of the 30 schools built by Compassion International after the Haiti earthquake.

Compassion has served in Haiti since 1968, partnering with local churches to deliver its holistic child development program to children in poverty.

Following the quake, the global organization raised more than $31 million in relief funds. These funds were used primarily to construct 30 schools throughout Haiti (all built to international seismic standards), so Haitian children could have a safe place to learn, grow and play. Monies were also used to provide income-generating microloans, which resulted in the creation of more than 450 small businesses and thousands of jobs.

Against all odds, Compassion Haiti has experienced tremendous growth:

  • Compassion’s child development programs have grown, with the addition of 59,766 more babies, children and young adults. This brings the total number of beneficiaries to 125,266 since January 2010.
  • And 123 new church partnerships have been formed with local Haitian churches, bringing the total to 353 since the disaster.

“Ten years later, our country still has much healing to do,” says Guilbaud St. Cyr, Compassion Haiti’s national director. “We have been blessed to play our role in the restoration, working alongside God to provide a future and a hope for the children of Haiti. We are confident He will continue to bless our ministry as we expand to release even more children from poverty in Jesus’ name.”

As for Wisnerley? She’s now 20 years old, and she plans to study diplomacy and international relations.

Compassion International was founded in 1952 and is a Christian child development organization aimed at helping children escape poverty. They partner with more than 7,500 churches in 25 countries.

Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau marked the 10th anniversary of the Haiti earthquake.

“Ten years ago today, a devastating earthquake in Haiti took the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, including 58 Canadians, and forever changed the lives of many more.

“On this solemn anniversary, we join Haitian communities in Canada and around the world to remember the victims and offer our condolences to those who lost loved ones,” added Trudeau.

“Over the last decade, the Haitian people have shown incredible resilience in the face of challenges and obstacles, as they continue to work toward a better tomorrow. As steadfast partners and friends, Canada remains committed in our support for the Haitian people. Whether through the generosity of Canadians who donated after the earthquake, or the vibrant Haitian-Canadian community that binds us together today, we stand united.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I invite all Canadians to remember those who were lost in this tragedy, and offer our support to everyone who continues to rebuild and work towards a brighter future.”

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