This one registered 7.2 on the Richter scale and devastated the southwestern peninsula. The latest numbers account for 2,500 dead, 12,000 injured, and at least 150,000 homes destroyed or seriously damaged resulting in an estimated 800,000 people left homeless.
The epicenter of the quake was in the Department of Nippes, a region whose economic mainstay is fishing. This is where we concentrated our relief efforts.
By the first week of September, we were in the earthquake zone assessing the damage and meeting with the local population to understand their needs. Thanks to our well-attended assemblies, we jointly designed:
To rebuild the supply chain of the fishing sector in the Commune of Petite Rivière de Nippes
That supply chain consists of the men who fish and the women who sell the fish. Our project, therefore, has two parts to reflect the different needs of each group.
Part One: to rebuild the underwater ‘fish attracter’ systems destroyed by the quake. This enables the local artisanal fishermen to reach their pre-earthquake levels of production in terms of fish size and catch quantity.
This ingenious system attracts plankton, which attracts small fish. This, in turn, attracts the large fish that eat the small fish. We provided materials and supplies for two systems and the fishermen provided additional supplies that could be sourced locally. After everything was in place, the fishermen installed the systems. It was a true partnership, and each side contributed equitably.
Project’s status: COMPLETED.
Part Two: As with all our projects, we pay special attention to women (whose voices are often not heard). We called a meeting of women’s organizations whose members are typically small merchants that sell the fish. The first meeting was attended by 300 women, indicating how urgent their needs were. All chose the option to access funding so they could re-start their commerce. We agreed. Currently, we are negotiating a three-year microcredit program with a local finance cooperative.
Project’s status: IN PROCESS.