Current Situation in Haiti After the 2010 Earthquake (February 2015)
Much has been done to rebuild the destroyed Church structures in Haiti, yet there is still so much more to do. In late 2011, the construction unit of the Partnership for Church Reconstruction ("Proche"),
known as the "UOC," became operational in Haiti with two professional
staff. Since then, the UOC has received over 100 project applications and is completing several church structure reconstruction projects in 2015. Please read our brief update on Reconstruction in Haiti 2015.
As of February, 2015 the Subcommittee for the Church in Latin America (SCLA) of the
USCCB has approved over $22 million USD in grants to more than fifty reconstruction
projects. Over 90% of these funds were awarded in 2012. Other funding partners have contributed to these and other projects and many are in various stages of execution.
Projects that the UOC is working on include several major reconstruction projects in the design
phase, notably the Sacré-Coeur church in Port-au-Prince. Others are nearing completion, including the newly
reconstructed church of St. Francis of Assisi in Grand Goave.
In recent years, Haiti has suffered much through
political instability and natural disasters, notably the January 2010
earthquake that destroyed a significant portion of the capital
Port-au-Prince and is estimated to have caused over 200,000 deaths. It also destroyed much of the Catholic infrastructure in the archdiocese
of Port-au-Prince and the diocese of Jacmel. The reconstruction costs to repair
Catholic buildings were estimated to be in excess of $150 million USD.
From left: Ruins of the Sacré-Coeur church in Port-au-Prince immediately after the 2010 quake, ruins of St. Vincent de Paul school in Gressier, 2010, and ruins of the Grand Seminary, Port-au-Prince, 2012.
Reconstructed St. Francis of Assisi church in Grand-Goave, October 2012.
Response from the Church
After the 2010 earthquake, the bishops held a special
collection for earthquake assistance in every diocese in the United
States. U.S. Catholics were extraordinarily generous, giving over $85
million in a single weekend. The funds were used by CRS for
humanitarian relief supplying food, water, medical aid, and temporary
housing to the victims of the earthquake. Other funds were set aside for
longer term needs. The bishops decided that 60% of the special
collection funds would go to CRS for its important work and the
remaining 40% would be used by the USCCB for reconstruction of the
destroyed and damaged Catholic Church infrastructure in Haiti.
After the collection, in late 2010, the USCCB joined with the Catholic Church of Haiti and
others, including sister churches from Germany, France, Latin America,
and the Vatican, in a new partnership to rebuild the Church in Haiti.
Together, these organizations looked for a way to formalize coordination
between partners and to manage the reconstruction.
The result is the Partnership for Church Reconstruction ("Proche").
This collaborative body is entrusted with managing the reconstruction
program to ensure quality of construction, as well as a rigorous and
transparent administration of funds. Other funders, including dioceses and
parish twinning programs, are encouraged to use Proche for Church
reconstruction projects. Proche is governed by a Joint Steering
Committee with representatives from the Haitian Conference of Bishops
(CEH), the Haitian conference of the Religious (CHR), the Apostolic
Nuncio to Haiti, the USCCB, Adveniat of Germany, and the French
Conference of Bishops (CEF). Project funding decisions are made
within each donor organization.
The goals of this partnership are to ensure that reconstructed or
repaired buildings are built to withstand future natural disasters and
that reconstruction funds are managed with the highest degree of
transparency and accountability, as is always called for in these
situations. With this goal in mind, an independent auditing firm recently completed a full audit of financial statements for the projects in Haiti.