Disaster Response programs: 2006-2010
- Chile, earthquake
In the early morning hours of Feb. 27, 2010, a devastating 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck the coast of Chile, 200 miles southwest of Santiago. Approximately 500,000 homes sustained considerable damage, and 2 million people were affected. Habitat is helping low-income families by building new homes and repairing existing homes.
- Haiti, earthquake
An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 struck the Caribbean nation of Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010—just 10 miles west of the capital, Port-au-Prince. Thousands of buildings and homes were destroyed. Millions of people were affected, and 1.5 million people were left displaced or homeless. Habitat has addressed shelter solutions for low-income families and has begun recovery efforts that include emergency, transitional and reconstruction solutions.
- El Salvador, Hurricane Ida
Hurricane Ida affected thousands in El Salvador in November 2009, with a reported 130 deaths and 60 missing. More than 1,800 homes were damaged by the storm, and 209 were completely destroyed. Habitat El Salvador is assessing possible damage to both Habitat homes and other houses in order to formulate a disaster response plan.
- Philippines, typhoons
In September and October, 2009, metro Manila and nearby Philippines provinces were battered by typhoons Ketsana, Parma, and Mirindae. These typhoons affected more than 4.6 million people―killing at least 938 people and damaging or destroying more than 277,000 homes. Habitat is assisting 10,000 families through the distribution of shelter repair kits and plans to build 2,000 transitional shelters and 4,000 core houses for flood-affected families.
- Vietnam and Cambodia, Typhoon Ketsana
Typhoon Ketsana struck Vietnam and Cambodia in October 2009. The storm is said to have killed at least 337 people and forced half a million from their homes. In Vietnam, Habitat plans to serve 10,000 families in five communities with roofing repairs. Habitat Cambodia is offering technical and construction assistance to affected families.
- Samoa, pacific tsunami
A powerful 8.3-magnitude earthquake caused tsunami waves that struck several South Pacific island nations early on Sept. 30, 2009. The tsunami took more than 190 lives, and many of the villages and resorts on the southern coast of the Samoan island of Upolu were wiped out. The Samoan government has decided that 425 fales (traditional houses) will be built in the first stage of the response. Using a combination of Samoan and Kiwi labor, Habitat for Humanity New Zealand is managing the construction of 325 of these homes.
- Indonesia, earthquakes
A powerful 7.6 earthquake struck near the city of Padang, Indonesia, in the early evening hours of Sept. 30, 2009. This followed a 7.0-magnitude earthquake in West Java on September 2. The earthquakes left 81 people dead, 1,297 injured and 41 missing. Additionally, approximately 100,000 homes, 3,000 schools and 500 office buildings were damaged.
In response, Habitat for Humanity Indonesia plans to build 2,500 core houses in Sumatra, laying the cornerstone for the first house in the Village of Korong Pasa Bali Kudu in November. Habitat will also assist families through the provision of toolkits and a cash-for-work program to clear debris. One thousand families will be served through the first phase of the West Java response, with the first 200 core homes expected to be completed by the end of December.
- India, flooding
On Sept. 30, 2009, the southern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka were hit by the worst floods in 100 years. Affecting more than 2 million people, the widespread flooding killed 247, displaced more than 1 million and destroyed more than 370,000 houses. Habitat plans to repair and renovate 3,000 houses, construct 3,000 houses and provide water and sanitation services to 1,000 families.
- Fiji, flooding
In January 2009, tropical storms caused major flooding in several Fiji provinces, forcing 6,000 people into emergency shelters. Habitat has launched a project to serve 105 families over an eight-month period by installing hurricane proofing retrofits in 80 homes and repairing 25 homes that have been damaged.
- United States, flooding and severe weather
In 2008, floods, tornados and severe storms caused considerable damage to communities in the Midwest. Habitat engaged in a wide variety of local efforts to aid these disaster-affected communities, with a key focus on Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where more than 5,000 homes were flooded, and almost 20,000 residents were displaced. A 20-home blitz build was organized by Habitat in June 2009 as the beginning of a local effort to help restore some of the affordable housing lost in Cedar Rapids.
- China, earthquake
On May 12, 2008, an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale struck Wenchuan County in China’s densely populated Sichuan Province, killing more than 50,000 people and injuring more than 300,000. Other affected areas include Beichuan County, Deyang city, Mianyang city and Dujiangyan city. In the first phase of reconstruction Habitat is working towards its goal of building at least 728 earthquake resilient, two-story wood-frame houses. Habitat also plans to rebuild nursery schools, health clinics, activity centers and libraries and outdoor exercise areas in Pengzhou city.
- Myanmar, Cyclone Nargis
Cyclone Nargis, a Category 3 storm, hit Myanmar (Burma) on May 2, 2008. High winds, heavy rain and flood waters affected more than 2 million people, killing an estimated 78,000, injuring 56,000 more and displacing 500,000 people from their homes. Working through the partner organization World Concern, Habitat is building transitional houses. To date, more than 550 families have been housed.
- Indiana, USA, flooding
In January 2008, flooding from the Tippecanoe and Wabash Rivers destroyed at least 180 homes and damaged 700 homes in Indiana. Another onslaught of warm weather and excessive rain led to more flooding in the same region in February. Habitat for Humanity of Lafayette played an instrumental role in aiding long-term recovery efforts in an eight-county region in northwest Indiana. The affiliate also joined other organizations to form Disaster Assistance for Northwest Indiana―a coalition committed to restoring affected households in the area to “pre-flood wholeness.”
- Bangladesh, Cyclone Sidr
Tropical Cyclone Sidr slammed into Bangladesh’s south coast on Nov. 15, 2007, packing winds of up to 140 miles per hour and tidal waves that swept away homes, crops and livestock. The cyclone, the worst to hit Bangladesh since the 1991 cyclonic disaster, claimed the lives of more than 3,000 people and affected 6.8 million total. The cyclone’s effect extended over 1,700 areas, causing massive damage to houses, buildings, roads and other infrastructure.
In response, Habitat Bangladesh assisted families affected through capacity building efforts, construction of 480 transitional shelters with proper sanitation using contributions from UNICEF Bangladesh and Habitat Great Britain.
- Nicaragua, Hurricane Felix
On Sept. 4, 2007, Hurricane Felix, a Category 5 storm, struck the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua, affecting more than 300 urban and rural communities and at least 33,000 families who were already among some of the poorest in Nicaragua. Housing, water and sanitation systems; access roads; schools; health centers; and places of worship were all damaged by the hurricane. Impact on crops, the area’s small-scale fishing industry and the environment was disastrous.
Habitat for Humanity built houses for the 150 indigenous Miskito families living in the small remote community of Auhya Pihni.
- Indonesia, earthquake
In March 2007, a powerful earthquake hit the Indonesian island of Sumatra, flattening hundreds of buildings and killing more than 70 people. In the aftermath of the earthquake, Habitat Yogyakarta volunteers and staff cleared debris and helped other organizations distribute emergency supplies to the community.
Immediately after, Habitat began the long task of rebuilding. Through Reaching out Architect―a three-month apprentice program for architectural or civil engineering students―Habitat was able to tap more than 40 local university students to assist Habitat field staff in consulting communities about rebuilding.
Several months after the earthquake, Habitat Yogyakarta also rebuilt 60 houses for people injured by the earthquake―building core houses that could be enlarged at a later date. The affiliate completed the rebuilding program in mid-2007, exceeding its original target by helping more than 1,000 families rebuild their homes and lives.
- El Salvador, Seismic swarm
In December 2006, more than 1,000 tremors impacted western El Salvador, damaging or destroying approximately 3,700 homes. Habitat for Humanity repaired or rebuilt homes for more than 200 families devastated by this disaster.
- Lebanon, complex humanitarian emergency
The July War of 2006 in Lebanon destroyed vital infrastructure and leveled buildings throughout the country. Nearly 1 million people were displaced internally during the war. The government of Lebanon estimated that nearly 100,000 homes were damaged during the conflict, while more than 11,000 homes were completely destroyed.
Habitat’s response focused on accelerating, monitoring and funding the repair and reconstruction of homes impacted by the fighting. In total, the program benefited nearly 900 households and injected over US$1 million into the local economy.
- Romania, floods
The floods along the Danube River in 2006 were among the most devastating in 100 years. Habitat for Humanity International and UNICEF-Romania funded an intervention project in the Danube shore villages of Bechet, Macesu de Jos and Carna. The program, which ended in June 2007, was successful in assisting nearly 200 needy families whose homes were either completely destroyed or had structural problems.