Disaster Response programs: 2001–2005
- Gulf Coast, USA, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita made landfall in late 2005 and became one of the most destructive disasters in United States’ history. The two hurricanes displaced more than a million residents, inflicted major damage to nearly 550,000 homes, and demolished hundreds of square miles of coastal land.
Habitat for Humanity responded to the devastation by implementing Operation Home Delivery, which helped low-income, hurricane-affected families in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama achieve simple, decent, and affordable housing.
Today the Gulf Coast region is still recovering from these storms that exacerbated previous housing and economic challenges. Habitat’s Gulf Coast affiliates continue to build houses in the affected area as part of the ongoing Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Recovery Effort.
- Pakistan, Earthquake
A massive earthquake struck Pakistan and neighboring India and Afghanistan on Oct. 8, 2005. An estimated 3 million people became homeless as a result of the earthquake. Habitat distributed 800 winter survival kits, 599 blankets and 150 tents; constructed more than 400 dome-shaped transitional shelters and 346 permanent houses; provided sawmill services for more than 5,500 families, and continues to serve affected families.
- Mexico and Central America, Hurricane Stan and flooding
Hurricane Stan hit Veracruz, Mexico, on October 4, 2005, and began generating separate storms that wreaked havoc throughout southern Mexico and parts of Central America. The heavy rainfall from the storms caused severe flooding and mudslides, affecting millions of people in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador. More than 500,000 people lost their homes.
Nearly 200 families were assisted with new housing, repairs and rehabilitation in Quetzaltenango, Solosa, San Marcos and Jutiapa in Guatemala and Veracruz and Chiapas in Mexico. Response activities also included securing land to build new communities for villages that were completely destroyed by mudslides.
- Sierra Leone, Complex humanitarian emergency
The Republic of Sierra Leone experienced a traumatic armed civil conflict for more than a decade, from 1991 to 2002. Habitat for Humanity International provided shelter assistance to 500 vulnerable families (representing approximately 3,500 individuals) returning from refugee camps. This intervention facilitated the resettlement of areas which were abandoned during the conflict.
- Indian Ocean, Tsunami
On December 26, 2004, a 9.0-magnitude undersea earthquake struck the western coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The earthquake was the fourth largest since 1900. More than 225,000 deaths and disappearances were caused by the resulting tsunamis which struck and ravaged coastal regions all over the Indian Ocean. The scale and extent of the destruction of housing was unprecedented.
Habitat has built, repaired and rehabilitated houses with families affected by the 2004 India Ocean tsunami in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. To date, Habitat for Humanity has assisted more than 20,000 families with permanent housing and provided disaster mitigation training for almost 5,000 more.
- Caribbean, Multiple hurricanes
During 2004, the island countries of Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Grenada were devastated by hurricanes, incredibly heavy rains and strong winds. Habitat for Humanity worked with communities in some of the most severely affected areas of these Caribbean nations to help them rebuild their homes and their lives.
In the Haitian communities of Fond Vertees, Les Cayes and Jacmel, Habitat worked with 130 local families to provide permanent housing solutions. In the Dominican Republic, nearly 100 families were assisted in the communities of Rio Mar, El Factor and Matancita. Throughout Jamaica, 210 families affected by Hurricane Ivan received assistance. A minimum of 155 low-income Grenadian families were also assisted with house repairs and construction skills training.
- Florida, USA, Storms
During hurricane season in 2004, thousands of families in many parts of Florida endured some of the most devastating hurricanes in recent history. In just six weeks, four massive storms pounded the state, tearing off roofs, knocking down walls and power lines, and leaving thousands homeless. Habitat for Humanity worked with communities throughout the state to build more than 60 new homes with affected families.
- Angola, Complex humanitarian emergency
Over the course of nearly three decades, Angola struggled to survive one of the most protracted conflicts in recent history. During this period, more than 4 million people were displaced and 400,000 fled as refugees to neighboring countries.
Subsequent peace accords opened the door for families to return to their communities, only to find widespread destruction and ruin. Many lived in cramped refugee camps and temporary shelters. There was an overwhelming need for decent, safe and affordable shelter for families looking to rebuild their lives and provide a future for their children.
Habitat for Humanity worked to support more than 500 families with innovative programs that combined housing and savings schemes through the Save & Build program.
- Burundi, Complex humanitarian emergency
Nearly 1,150 families were assisted with shelter in the Muyinga and Makamba provinces in Burundi after a decade-long civil war that displaced thousands of people and destroyed a quarter of a million homes.
- Tennessee, USA, Tornadoes
A tornado recovery program built homes for families affected by tornadoes that hit Jackson, Tennessee in May 2003. Through a series of partnerships, recovery homes were built as part of a broader alliance that supported up to 26 disaster-affected families in the area.
- Afghanistan, Complex humanitarian emergency and earthquake
In northern Afghanistan, Habitat for Humanity provided materials, tools and technical expertise to Afghan families needing to rebuild or repair their houses. Their homes were damaged by one of the worst complex disaster situations in the world that included armed conflict, civil unrest and a four-year drought.
On March 25, 2002, a powerful earthquake exacerbated the situation, killing as many as 1,000 people and damaging thousands of homes in northern Afghanistan.
After 18 months of hard work in Afghanistan, nearly 335 families in the villages of Salbarun and Temorak in Balkh province received Afghan dome houses. In a partnership with Shelter for Life, Habitat also supported efforts to provide shelter assistance for up to 5,000 earthquake-affected families in Nahrin, Baghlan province.
- India, Gujarat earthquake
In partnership with other organizations, Habitat built homes for families left homeless when an earthquake shook the region in January 2001. The Habitat for Humanity project was completed in 2003 when 664 houses were built in the villages of Sikhra and Khumbariya.