Latest update

On the morning of August 14th, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit southwestern Haiti. Our teams on the ground are still working to assess the impact of the earthquake. Initial reports indicate that close to 50 child development centres were destroyed or report heavy damage. Those centres oversee more than 17,000 children. When a disaster strikes, our mission remains the same: to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Compassion has a long history of serving the children of Haiti and we're making every effort to support our affected church partners and the children in their care.

To view the latest update for the earthquake in Haiti, please visit our Crisis Reports page or continue reading below.

Reports from Haiti continue to show that COVID-19 cases are rising. Officially, Haiti is reporting an average of 49 cases per day throughout July. However, this number could be much higher because of low testing rates and widespread dismissal of the virus in Haiti. Haiti vaccinated the first 38 people in the country on July 17th, kicking off its vaccination program using the 500,000 doses it received from the United States.

Gang violence in Haiti continues to escalate, exacerbated by the recent assassination of the President in July. Some hospitals are considering shutting down because the danger is too great. Kidnappings are rampant, with gangs becoming increasingly bold as the local police lack resources to respond. Masks are required by the government, but unmasked events continue to be held.

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Country update

Crisis Reports from Haiti

  • update icon

    Earthquake in Haiti (Crisis Update) 18 Sep, 2021

    The situation

    On the morning of August 14th, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit southwestern Haiti, followed by several significant aftershocks. The most affected areas are the South, Nippes and Grand'Anse departments. Compassion has a number of child development centres with church partners in the area most affected by the earthquake. Close to 50 child development centres were destroyed or report heavy damage. Those centres oversee more than 17,000 children.

    If your sponsored child has been affected by the earthquake, Compassion will contact you directly once we have more information.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 46 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: at least 14,304

    New information

    The United Nations reports that nearly 1 million people – about 45 per cent of the Haitian population – will experience high levels of acute food insecurity following the recent earthquake. It is estimated that around 212,000 people have also lost access to safe drinking water services. The Haitian government has decided to extend the state of emergency in the three of the affected regions by a further 30 days. Transportation between Port-au-Prince and the southern earthquake-affected region has become very difficult due to fuel shortages and the rise of gang-related activities.

    One of the biggest current challenges for our local church partners is to get ready for the commencement of the school year, scheduled for October 4th, as many of the school buildings and child development centres have been damaged or destroyed. Over 15,000 children affected by the earthquake have now received either food and hygiene kits or cash transfers. Compassion's National Office in Haiti is also implementing a series of activities with the 46 affected church partners to provide physical and emotional support to children.

    Prayer

    Please pray for the security of staff, pastors and families during this time of unrest following the earthquake. Pray that children will be able to safely resume their learning and education as quickly as possible.

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    Earthquake in Haiti (Crisis Update) 10 Sep, 2021

    The situation

    On the morning of August 14th, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit southwestern Haiti, followed by several significant aftershocks. The most affected areas are the South, Nippes and Grand'Anse departments. Compassion has a number of child development centres with church partners in the area most affected by the earthquake. Close to 50 child development centres were destroyed or report heavy damage. Those centres oversee more than 17,000 children.

    If your sponsored child has been affected by the earthquake, Compassion will contact you directly once we have more information. The full extent of damages and injuries is still being assessed and is likely to take some time to communicate due to infrastructure and road damage, as well as communication outages.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 46 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: at least 14,152

    New information

    Nearly 99% of affected children and their families have now received food, hygiene kits or cash transfers through Compassion. Many families remain displaced and in temporary shelter. The Haiti National Office staff will continue to work closely with local church partners and the Disaster Response Team to provide ongoing support and more permanent shelter for those impacted by the earthquake. Another medical team will also be visiting the affected region to provide further assistance.

    The compounded effects of an ongoing political crisis, socio-economic challenges, food insecurity and gang violence continue to worsen an already precarious situation in Haiti. UNICEF warns of a potential resurgence in water-borne diseases in south-western Haiti, where more than half a million children lack access to shelter, safe drinking water and hygiene facilities following the recent earthquake.

    Prayer

    Please keep praying for the children, families, staff and churches affected by the recent earthquake. Pray for wisdom for the leaders and helpers as they seek to provide assistance and rebuild their communities. Pray for peace, stability and strength in the nation of Haiti.

  • update icon

    Earthquake in Haiti (Crisis Update) 07 Sep, 2021

    The situation

    On the morning of August 14th, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit southwestern Haiti, followed by several significant aftershocks. The most affected areas are the South, Nippes and Grand'Anse departments. Compassion has a number of child development centres with church partners in the area most affected by the earthquake. Close to 50 child development centres were destroyed or report heavy damage. Those centres oversee more than 17,000 children.

    If your sponsored child has been affected by the earthquake, Compassion will contact you directly once we have more information. The full extent of damages and injuries is still being assessed and is likely to take some time to communicate due to infrastructure and road damage, as well as communication outages.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 46 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: at least 13,703

    New information

    The dire conditions in southwestern Haiti, where more than half a million children lack access to shelter, clean water and hygiene facilities, are rapidly increasing the threat of acute respiratory infections, diarrhea, cholera and malaria, according to UNICEF. The Haitian government reports that the school year, initially scheduled to begin on September 6th, has been postponed to September 21st for the rest of the country and to October 4th in the three earthquake affected departments.

    All affected local church partners have resumed activities in their yards. They continue to provide support to children and their families through the provision of food, safe water, basic medical care, temporary shelter, safe places for children to play and careful monitoring of child protection issues. So far, 96% of impacted children and their families have received their supplies from staff.

    Aftershocks are continuing to take place in the affected region. Many whose homes are still standing are choosing to sleep outside in fear that the tremors may cause their houses to collapse. With hurricane season drawing nearer, families are hoping to repair their homes as soon as possible.

    Our Compassion Disaster Response Team will continue to assess the situation and provide updates as they become available.

    Prayer

    Please pray especially for children and families who are living outside and fearful of the upcoming hurricane season, for people who are sick or injured, for those grieving the loss of loved ones, and for strength and wisdom for local church leaders.

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    Earthquake in Haiti (Crisis Update) 27 Aug, 2021

    The situation

    On the morning of August 14th, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit southwestern Haiti, followed by several significant aftershocks. The most affected areas are the South, Nippes and Grand'Anse departments. Compassion has a number of child development centres with church partners in the area most affected by the earthquake. Close to 50 child development centres were destroyed or report heavy damage. Those centres oversee more than 17,000 children.

    If your sponsored child has been affected by the earthquake, Compassion will contact you directly once we have more information. The full extent of damages and injuries is still being assessed and is likely to take some time to communicate due to infrastructure and road damage, as well as communication outages.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 46 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: at least 12,193

    New information

    The urgent needs of the population are still drinking water, food, medicines and shelter. The government has urged people to avoid returning to cracked buildings due to frequent aftershocks since the day of the earthquake.

    All of Compassion's affected local church partners have received food and hygiene kits or other supplies for the children. So far, almost 70% of impacted children and their families have received their supplies from staff and distribution will continue throughout this week. Most of our local church partner staff have resumed normal work either from home or in the churchyards to assist impacted families and to provide updates on the disaster.

    Our Compassion Disaster Response Team will continue to assess the situation and provide updates as they become available.

    Prayer

    Please pray especially for children and families who are now living in tents, for those who are sick or injured, for those grieving the loss of loved ones and that local staff will have wisdom during this difficult time.

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    Earthquake in Haiti (Crisis Update) 25 Aug, 2021

    The situation

    On the morning of August 14th, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit southwestern Haiti, followed by several significant aftershocks. The most affected areas are the South, Nippes and Grand'Anse departments. Compassion has a number of child development centres with church partners in the area most affected by the earthquake. Close to 50 child development centres were destroyed or report heavy damage. Those centres oversee more than 17,000 children.

    If your sponsored child has been affected by the earthquake, Compassion will contact you directly once we have more information. The full extent of damages and injuries is still being assessed and is likely to take some time to communicate due to infrastructure and road damage, as well as communication outages.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 46 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: at least 9,708

    New information

    Officials report that the death toll has now climbed above 2,200 and over 12,300 people have been injured in the earthquake. 344 people are still reported missing. The Haitian Civil Protection also reports that nearly 600,000 people need immediate humanitarian aid, though many live in areas that are difficult to access. According to the World Food Program, 77% of those affected by the earthquake live in poverty, which makes recovery from disaster all the more difficult.

    Our Compassion Haiti Medical Team travelled to the areas impacted by the earthquake in southern Haiti over the weekend. They were able to provide medical support to about 220 people during their four-day visit before returning to Port-au-Prince. Our teams on the ground also began to distribute food, water purification products, hygiene kits and basic medicines such as vitamins and antibiotics to accessible child development centres. For rural centres that are not currently accessible, the local church partner will receive cash transfers to give to children and their caregivers so that they can buy their own food and emergency supplies.

    Our Compassion Disaster Response Team will continue to assess the situation and provide updates as they become available.

    Prayer

    Please continue to pray for safety, healing and comfort for the affected communities in Haiti following the earthquake. Pray for strength, wisdom and courage for our local church partners, Compassion staff and Haitian leaders.

  • update icon

    Earthquake in Haiti (Crisis Update) 19 Aug, 2021

    The situation

    On the morning of August 14th, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit southwestern Haiti, followed by several significant aftershocks throughout the day. The most affected areas are the South, Nippes and Grand'Anse departments. Compassion has a number of child development centres with church partners in the area most affected by the earthquake. Close to 50 child development centres were destroyed or report heavy damage. Those centres oversee more than 17,000 children.

    If your sponsored child has been affected by the earthquake, Compassion will contact you directly once we have more information. The full extent of damages and injuries is still being assessed and is likely to take some time to communicate due to infrastructure and road damage, as well as communication outages.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 46 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: not yet confirmed

    New information

    Officials have reported that at least 1,941 people have died in the earthquake. Nearly 10,000 people have been injured. The UN estimates about 500,000 children now have limited or no access to shelter, safe water and food. It is estimated that at least 37,312 houses have been destroyed and 46,913 have been damaged in the affected regions.

    Tropical Depression Grace lashed earthquake-damaged cities on Monday night with up to ten inches of rain, further complicating the life of the families living in tents as well as the search for survivors under the rubble.

    Our Disaster Response Team has arrived safely in the earthquake devastated regions in Southern Haiti and has already visited at least five local church partners to assess the situation with local leaders. They will distribute food and hygiene kits as early as possible this week. The Compassion Haiti medical team will arrive in the affected region tomorrow to provide support to injured children, caregivers and staff.

    Prayer

    Please pray for the children and family members who have been injured, displaced or whose homes have been destroyed. Please pray for God’s comfort for those who have lost loved ones and those who are still waiting to hear their news. Pray also that aid will swiftly get to all those affected by this disaster.

  • update icon

    Earthquake in Haiti (Crisis Update) 18 Aug, 2021

    The situation

    On the morning of August 14th, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit southwestern Haiti, followed by several significant aftershocks throughout the day. The most affected areas are the South, Nippes and Grand'Anse departments. Compassion has a number of child development centres with church partners in the area most affected by the earthquake. Close to 50 child development centres were destroyed or report heavy damage. Those centres oversee more than 17,000 children.

    The full extent of damages and injuries is still being assessed and is likely to take some time to communicate due to infrastructure and road damage, as well as communication outages. If your sponsored child has been affected by the earthquake, Compassion will contact you directly once we have more information.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 46 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: not yet confirmed

    New information

    Officials have confirmed at least 1,300 people have died and over 6,000 have been injured. Devastatingly, The death toll is expected to rise as the search for victims trapped under rubble continues. The current major needs of the victims are health (both physical and mental), shelter, food and clean water.

    The National Office is still working to assess the full impact of the earthquake on our local church partners and their communities. They have sent a disaster response ream to the most affected areas to provide support and make contact with every child registered in our program. The team will also deliver food and hygiene kits to children and their families.

    Currently what we know is Compassion's National Office staff in Haiti are all accounted for, though some have experienced damage to their homes and direct impacts to their family members. Devastatingly, of the 46 affected child development centres, six church buildings have been destroyed and 27 have cracked. Seven school buildings have been destroyed and 23 cracked. Six of our local offices have been destroyed and 25 cracked. The magnitude of this disaster is immense.

    Tropical Storm Grace has already made landfall in the Dominican Republic and is expected to hit Haiti today. The concern is that heavy rainfall, landslides and flooding will add to the immense challenges of communities displaced following the earthquake.

    Prayer

    Please keep praying for protection, peace, provision and strength for the local church partners, Compassion staff, children and families affected by the earthquake.

  • update icon

    Earthquake in Haiti 16 Aug, 2021

    The situation

    On the morning of August 14th, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit southwestern Haiti, followed by several significant aftershocks throughout the day. The Haitian government has declared a one-month state of emergency in the West, South, Nippes and Grand'Anse departments. Compassion has a number of child development centres with church partners in the area most affected by the earthquake. Approximately 50 child development centres were destroyed or report heavy damage. Those centres oversee more than 17,000 children.

    In addition to determining the impact of the earthquake, we are also monitoring Tropical Depression Grace, which is forecasted to affect at least portions of Haiti on Monday.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: not yet confirmed Number of Compassion assisted children affected: not yet confirmed

    New information

    The full extent of damages and injuries is still being assessed and is likely to take some time to communicate due to infrastructure and road damage, as well as communication outages. If your sponsored child has been affected by the earthquake, Compassion will contact you directly once we have more information. Initial reports from the Compassion Haiti National Office staff have indicated that while all staff are physically unharmed, some have had their houses either destroyed or cracked.

    While the National Office works to understand the full impact of the earthquake, they are also working with local church partners to provide medical aid, food and hygiene kits to affected children, families and staff as quickly as possible.

    Prayer

    Please pray for the local church partners, Compassion staff, children and families affected by the earthquake, particularly as they grapple with memories from the devastation caused by the earthquake in 2010 that killed over 200,000 people. Pray for God's peace, provision and comfort.

  • update icon

    Social and Political Upheaval in Haiti (Crisis Update) 06 Aug, 2021

    The situation

    After the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse on 7th July, the country was plunged further into turmoil. Gang violence, economic uncertainty, fuel shortages and a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases has caused social and political unrest throughout the country. As a precautionary measure, Compassion Haiti offices were temporarily closed and local staff worked from home to assist children and their families remotely.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: not yet confirmed Number of Compassion assisted children affected: not yet confirmed

    New information

    The situation is beginning to stabilise and local staff are able to return to their offices. Many will continue to work from home where possible. As a precautionary measure, staff will continue to support children and families through home visits for the time being. Normal program activities will recommence gradually.

    Prayer

    Please keep praying for the safety of affected children, staff and families in Haiti. Please pray for peace to prevail in Haiti.

How is Compassion currently operating in Haiti?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    Currently, most Compassion child development centres throughout the country have resumed normal on-site activities, but some centres may be affected by the recent earthquake and widespread social unrest. For the local church partners that are unaffected by the earthquake, staff members carefully clean and sanitise the centres and have children attending in shifts so they can maintain proper social distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

    Many local church partners are working closely with students who are preparing for their final evaluations and staff are offering tutoring to those struggling from a difficult, disrupted school year. Our local partners have been able to deliver nearly 163,000 food packs and 92,000 hygiene kits and have provided medical assistance to nearly 12,800 people since the beginning of the pandemic.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    The majority of letters are delayed in Haiti, which means it may take longer for you to receive letters from your sponsored child. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write! We encourage you to continue sending your sponsored child letters of encouragement and hope. What a joyful day it will be when those letters are delivered!

  • Are gifts being delivered?

    Gifts continue to be distributed in Haiti. Staff members have been given the option to disburse monetary gifts to caregivers, where appropriate. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognising that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

How you can pray

Thank you for praying for children and families in Haiti who have been impacted by COVID-19—and the local staff and churches who continue to serve them in difficult circumstances.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • Pray for children who have been impacted by the recent earthquake; that they will be protected and comforted. Pray that they can quickly resume their education and have opportunities for safe play, discipleship and learning.
  • Pray for comfort and renewed hope for families who have lost their homes, livelihoods and even loved ones in the earthquake.
  • Pray for the helpers and rescue workers as they continue searching through the rubble and provide support to victims and their families.
  • Pray for the local church partners and Compassion staff living in the affected areas who are caring for children and families while dealing with the impact to their own homes and families.
  • Pray for those in Haiti who need medical attention. Pray for their healing and that they will receive the care and supplies they need.
  • Pray for the safety and protection of our staff. Gang violence and political instability have made travel to the earthquake affected region difficult. Pray for Compassion and other aid organisations as they deliver supplies and bring support teams to the area in these challenging conditions.
  • Pray for those who have experienced trauma in this earthquake and in the earthquakes in 2010 and 2016 in Haiti. Ask God to bring comfort and peace to their hearts and minds.
  • Pray that God would bring peace and strength to Haiti’s leaders as they seek to provide direction and wisdom for the nation’s future.
Facing homelessness during a pandemic in Haiti

Facing homelessness during a pandemic in Haiti

For sisters Denise, 21, and Rosandie, 18, a pandemic in their community of Canaan meant they would be facing even more housing difficulties in an already weak infrastructure. Both were living with their older sister, Anita, but financial pressure set in and they were unable to afford rent. The sisters thought they only had one option left.   Read more open_in_new

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Please note: Due to the current pandemic, many centres have limited classroom space and have children attending in shifts so they can maintain proper social distancing.

A snapshot of Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program in Haiti

Compassion’s program is contextualised across countries and communities, as well as age groups.

  • Children aged 1 to 3 receive home-based care.
  • Children aged 3 to 5 visit the Compassion centre for one hour every weekday and three hours on Saturdays.
  • Children aged 6 and older attend the centre for two to four hours after school each day and for four hours on Saturdays.
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Compassion Program Activities in Haiti

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Compassion assisted children in Haiti typically attend program activities at their local child development centre before or after school. Here is an example of what a typical program day looks like for children in Haiti.

8:00am - A time of prayer and devotion and breakfast. A typical breakfast usually consists of eggs, bread or buns and tea.

9:00am - Spiritual lessons, in which children sing songs and learn Bible stories. Children aged three to five are given an illustrated Bible with simple stories. Children aged six to eight receive an illustrated Bible with longer stories. Children aged nine to 14 are given a complete Bible. Students over the age of 15 receive a study Bible.

10:30am - Break time, when children can play in a safe environment and develop friendships.

11:00am - Social-emotional lessons ranging from conflict resolution to developing healthy self-esteem. Children often come from challenging home environments and are taught social and personal skills.

12:00pm - Lunch and social time. Children often receive sandwiches, juice or milk, or a hot meal of spaghetti or rice, beans, vegetables and meat. There is a special nutritional program for malnourished children.

1:00pm - Health lessons, in which children learn practical health and hygiene lessons, including how to prevent malaria and HIV.

2:00pm - Letter writing and career planning. Older children work with local staff to identify their strengths and interests and set goals for their future.

Children are also invited to attend spiritual retreats during Carnival and Easter. Older students can choose vocational training classes, including painting, crafts, sewing, computer, music, photography, videography, cooking and foreign language classes. Parents and caregivers are offered income generation activities and parenting seminars each week.

The greatest needs impacting children living in poverty in Haiti

Haiti rose up against French colonial control in the early 19th century to become the first independent Caribbean state. But it has struggled with dictators, coups and corruption ever since.

The government is facing not only the COVID-19 crisis but an energy crisis caused by a choked supply of diesel imports and a lack of a long-term energy strategy. While blackouts and grid disruptions are not new to Haiti, the timing means that hospitals battling COVID-19 are relying on buckets of water in the hallways and can’t use their generators for electricity. What's more, Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated during a raid on his home on 7th July.

This instability comes against a backdrop of historical destruction caused by earthquakes, floods and cyclones that regularly sweep the nation.

Haiti’s infrastructure is unable to cope with devastating events like the Port-a-Prince earthquake in 2010—and the subsequent cholera epidemic that killed more than 7000 people—and Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Thousands have lost their lives and millions more have had their homes and livelihoods destroyed. These regular events make it very difficult for the nation to build the infrastructure it needs—hospitals, roads, schools and so on—to bring its people out of poverty.

Over half the population lives in poverty, with 40 per cent unemployed. Almost one-quarter of infants have low birth weight, and most people living in rural areas lack access to basic needs such as clean water and sanitation facilities.

Many of the nation’s children live on the streets, forced into prostitution, begging and crime to survive.

Yet the Church is rising again and again in response, meeting children’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs—providing them and their families with the immediate and long-term support they need to get back to their feet.

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