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Habitat for Humanity will address housing needs in Haiti after major earthquake

January 13, 2010


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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (January 13, 2010)
— Habitat for Humanity International will respond to a 7.0 earthquake near Port-au-Prince and is currently assessing the impact on affordable housing.

“Habitat for Humanity will mobilize all available resources to address shelter solutions for low-income families affected by the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on Tuesday,” said Torre Nelson, area vice president of Habitat for Humanity International’s Latin America and Caribbean office. “We are closely monitoring the situation and have been in contact with Habitat for Humanity Haiti. We will begin Habitat’s recovery efforts as soon as possible.”

“Habitat for Humanity is sending an assessment team into the impacted area,” said Kip Scheidler, senior director Global Disaster Response, Habitat for Humanity International. “Once we know the full magnitude of this disaster, we’ll begin Habitat’s recovery process.”

Costa Rican Susan Herrera, an employee of Habitat for Humanity’s Latin America and the Caribbean office was among 16 estimated citizens from the country who were in Port-au-Prince at the time of the earthquake. Susan was able to make contact with the organization on Wednesday morning via a text message. Juan de Dios Valdez of Habitat for Humanity has established regular communication with the family of Mrs. Herrera in Costa Rica.

On Thursday morning, Susan and family were safely evacuated in a small plane shuttle from Port-au-Prince via Santo Domingo, and is residing with the National Director of Habitat Dominican Republic. Habitat for Humanity International is in communication with Susan, who is working in Haiti as the Finance and Administration Director, and is currently working to get her safely home to Costa Rica as soon as possible.

Habitat for Humanity has been at work in Haiti for 26 years and will use its local expertise and mobilize resources as part of the rebuilding efforts. Habitat has provided more than 2,000 families with housing solutions through a variety of initiatives including new home construction, progressive building, home repairs and improvements. It also builds capacity in construction skills, disaster mitigation and financial literacy, and works in coordination with community and government agencies.

Early media reports estimate that 3 million people were affected. Haiti’s ambassador to the U.S. has called the quake a “catastrophe of major proportions.”

Habitat for Humanity’s ability to respond effectively to this disaster will require support from donors, volunteers, corporate partners and other community organizations. Donations can be made at

About Habitat for Humanity’s Disaster Response
Habitat’s Disaster Response department focuses on the housing needs that arise from natural disasters and humanitarian conflicts. Habitat offers expertise in technical information; program design and implementation; and disaster response policies, protocols and procedures. We also provide support and informational resources for disaster mitigation and preparedness―helping communities in disaster-prone areas protect themselves against future threats.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built, rehabilitated, repaired or improved more than 350,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1.75 million people. For more information, or to donate or volunteer, visit