Rebuilding in Haiti

Marcel's Story

Life before the earthquake

Marcel is 43 and lives with his 5 year old son Maxo, and his older sister Suzette in a remote and rural community called Chantal. Marcel worked in a plantain field and looked after two bulls. He lived in a modest home made of rocks and cement.

Things weren’t perfect before the earthquake. The country is still recovering from the catastrophic earthquake that struck in 2010. In 2016 ShelterBox teams responded to the devastating Hurricane Matthew – When they arrived in Haiti this time, they noticed much of the same infrastructure damage had gone unrepaired. A quarter of Haiti’s population lives in extreme poverty, and the President’s assassination in July made an already fragile security situation more volatile.

The Aftermath

When the earthquake hit, Marcel was out feeding the bulls. The bulls were frightened and ran off, but Marcel was fine. As were his son and sister. But their home was not. Marcel said he felt frightened, weak, and powerless when the earthquake struck as there was nothing he could do. The earthquake in Haiti reached 7.2 magnitude, and over 650 aftershocks were recorded.

The walls of his home collapsed but Marcel was able to salvage a few items, including his bed. In the aftermath, Marcel built a makeshift wooden tent beside his home for his family to sleep.


Marcel outside his home, which has been fixed with a ShelterBox tarp!

Marcel intend to rebuild his house. The walls collapsed but much of the foundation is still there.

Getting aid to Marcel and his family was a challenge. In general getting aid into Haiti provided lots of logistical issues. Block and damaged roads and infrastructure, ports being taken over, gang violence and created unique challenges. But once aid was in the mountainous Les Cayes region, the work wasn’t over. Marcel lives about an hour outside of Les Cayes. To reach him, teams had to wade through two rivers in their vehicle. Then they reached a path that was inaccessible by car, and eventually had a 30 minute walk upstream, up a hill.

But aid did make it to Marcel! He tells us the most useful item he received from ShelterBox was the tarpaulin. He secured this to what was still standing of his home, and helped him create temporary walls to keep his family safe!

He also really liked the kitchen set as it allowed the family to cook, and the solar light helps them at night.

Thank you for making this possible for Marcel, and the thousands of other families in Haiti who received aid after this terrible disaster.

In the future, Marcel hopes to rebuild his home in a way that will withstand earthquakes and hurricanes, so that he and his family will not have to live through this nightmare again.

The Impossible Choice: Aftermath of an Earthquake

Do you sleep outside in the rain or do you sleep in the remains of your crumbling home? For families in Haiti, this question was their reality. Learn more about how ShelterBox responded in Haiti.

Haiti Earthquake

We provided shelter and aid to families devastated by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on August 14th. Learn more about our response.

Remembering major earthquake responses – Gujarat 2001 and Haiti 2010

January 2001 and 2010 will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Read about two of our most important earthquake responses and learn more about earthquakes.