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Haiti earthquake: Emergency Response Unit (ERU) team work tirelessly

26 October 2021

For the past month, the second ERU team, led by Brice Goedert, has been helping the victims of the earthquake that struck Haiti last August, seven days a week. Having taken over from the first ERU team, which had already set up numerous aid and support activities in a very efficient manner, they were then faced with rock slides caused by the earthquake caused additional damage, including several houses being destroyed.

They started by going door to door in many villages and mountainous areas that are difficult to access, in order to identify the beneficiaries and to assess the damage. After identifying the most affected areas and the most vulnerable people, the ERU and the Haitian Red Cross formed teams of volunteers and proceeded to distribute kits consisting of a set of sanitary products, kitchen utensils, a tarpaulin sheet, a shelter tool kit, two blankets, two mosquito nets, two jerry cans and a bucket with dry food. These kits have been extremely useful, with satisfaction surveys regarding the material received by our beneficiaries have shown that they all use the whole kit or share it with their neighbours or family!

At the same time, the team organises daily debriefing meetings with the teams, training sessions for volunteers as well as villagers, and Covid vaccination sessions for local members. In the evenings, they mainly focus on their administrative tasks and planning their next support actions.

The first ERU Benelux team, also consisting of 4 members, flew to Haiti on 20 August, a few days after the earthquake, to help the victims in the framework of actions set up by the IFRC and the Haitian Red Cross. In some of the worst-affected areas, such as Camp Perrin, they were the very first external aid team on the ground.

“The first observation was that everything was completely destroyed in many villages and that the two priorities were food and shelter.”

Myriam Jacoby, team leader of the 1st ERU team

Myriam Jacoby, team leader of this first ERU team deployed, talks us through how the emergency intervention unfolded: “The first step was to meet the regional Red Cross on site, who informed us of their needs in terms of material and more general support from our ERU team. Then we went directly to the field to identify the places most affected by the earthquake, the most vulnerable people, and the primary needs, with the help of the local Red Cross. The first observation was that everything was destroyed in many villages and that the two priorities were food and shelter. So, we started directly by distributing kits to enable families to eat better and rebuild their shelter.

The teams continue to provide assistance in the affected areas of Haiti to this day. For more information on their daily actions, follow them on the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/humanitarianaid.redcross.lu/


Context

On 14 August, an earthquake of magnitude 7.2 struck Haiti, causing significant damage, particularly in the south of the country. The toll was very high: more than 2,207 people were reported dead and more than 12,268 injured. The Luxembourg Red Cross immediately deployed its emergency team, the ERU, to provide assistance to local volunteers and disaster victims.