After the earthquake, schools rise from the ground

One year after the 14 August 2021 earthquake, UNICEF continues to work around the clock to rebuild or rehabilitate damaged or destroyed schools in southwestern Haiti

Ndiaga Seck
Une école endommagée après le tremblement de terre du 14 août 2021
19 August 2022

A devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the southwestern region of Haiti on 14 August 2021, leaving thousands of people in need of food, water, sanitation, hygiene, and shelter. According to official data, the earthquake affected 800,000 people, including 340,000 children, killed more than 2,200 and injured 12,700, damaged or destroyed 115,000 homes, 97 health institutions and 1,250 schools in the departments of the South, Nippes and Grand'Anse.

More than 260,000 children need humanitarian assistance. The total damage and loss are estimated at $1.62 billion, while recovery needs amount to $1.98 billion.

UNICEF was at the forefront of the response during the first hours following the natural disaster. To rebuild, UNICEF was mobilized very quickly and already less than two months after the earthquake, the first blows of pikes and pickaxes were heard.

Construction d'une école dans le Grand Sud

So, UNICEF, the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training (MENFP) and partners worked tirelessly to ensure that the first semi-temporary structures were built and the first frames were erected.

La charpente d'une école en construction
UNICEF/UN0566149/Diaz Mercado

While waiting for the classrooms to be built, UNICEF has deployed some 1,00 tents in the schools where the buildings were most damaged or destroyed by the earthquake and allow for children to find shelter and resume their education.

Les enfants en train de suivre les cours dans une tente érigée par l'UNICEF après le séisme
UNICEF/UN0590979/Diaz Mercado

As families affected by the earthquake slowly recover, children are supported with school kits. With the help of young U-Reporters, more than 74,000 children received school kits containing pens, notebooks, slates, rulers, compasses, squares, etc.

Les U-reporters participent à la distribution des kits scolaires dans les écoles
UNICEF/UN0589714/Diaz Mercado

In order to restore the right to education for all children, UNICEF has used all means to go further and provide them with school kits. Here, the kits were transported by boat to areas such as Ile-a-Vache island, in the South.

Transport des kits scolaire à l’Ile-à-Vache

Meanwhile, schools are building despite transportation issues linked to the obstruction of the national road leading to the south of the country by armed gangs. UNICEF is obliged to take alternative routes or to pay transport costs sometimes up to nine times higher. The Minister of National Education and Vocational Training, M Nesmy Manigat, visited construction sites to inquire about the progress of the construction work.

Le Ministre de l'éducation, Nesmy Manigat visite les chantiers des écoles

UNICEF engineers and construction firms rushed to build as many schools as possible, despite physical access problems and the whims of the weather.

Visite de terrain par l'UNICEF aux chantiers des écoles

During the month of June 2022, some schools were handed over to communities, in the presence of the UNICEF Representative, Mr. Bruno Maes, and the Representative of the Minister of Education, Professor Auguste D'meza.

Remise des écoles construites à la communauté

UNICEF Haiti Goodwill Ambassadors Jean Jean Roosevelt and BIC enhanced school handover events with concerts, much to the delight of children and community members.

Jean Jean Roosevelt et BIC, Ambassadeurs de bonne volonté de l'UNICEF en train de chanter avec les enfants

At the Ecole Palmiste de Chantal in the South, children wanted to mark the school handover day with an unprecedented cultural performance, which cheered up the crowd, evidence they were happy with their new school.

Les enfants sont contents d'avoir des nouvelles salles de classe

One year after the 14 August 2021earthquake, only 38 schools are in the process of being finalized out of the 130 schools UNICEF had pledged rebuild or rehabilitate, due to a lack of financial resources. « We should rebuild more schools, but we do not have the means. We need a lot more resources to be able to rebuild all the schools that were devastated by the earthquake, » Jean Jean Roosevelt advocated.

L'école de Miserne reconstruite après le tremblement de terre