Five year anniversary of catastrophic Haiti earthquake


Five years ago today, on January 12, 2010, our disaster response team deployed to Haiti after it was devastated by a catastrophic earthquake that killed 1 million animals and affected 3.5 million people.

Recognizing the magnitude of the recovery efforts required, our disaster team was in Haiti within 72 hours and had partnered with other animal welfare groups to form the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH). While the protection and recovery of Haiti’s people was the priority for the government, they also recognized the need for a coordinated and sanctioned animal-related response including animal vaccination, disease surveillance, veterinary training and raising public awareness of the risks of cholera.

With your incredible support, we were able to provide vital treatment to 70,000 animals. Our team vaccinated people and their pets– helping to prevent diseases from spreading. We also helped rebuild the National Veterinary Laboratory and trained local vets on how to respond to future disasters. Thank you for all that you have done to help animals in need during disasters.

The work we did in Port au Prince demonstrated how essential integrating disaster risk management for animals is with the community to reduce the effects of future disasters.

Read the moving letter from the Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources in Haiti received yesterday by our Disaster Operations Director in Latin America, Gerardo Huertas:

"Dear Gerardo, dear friend,

Today was a very, very sad day in Haiti......five years after mother nature gave us such tremendous punishment, warm celebrations were organized in honor of the victims and a memorial has been erected at the place where thousands of human bodies were buried. Maybe "in deference to human lives" celebrated, the animals that died too were not honored as well....but somewhere they will always be remembered, and in some place, the memory and the data will always exist about a group of people wearing T-shirts with an "ARCH" logo working hard to bring relief to those companion beings which were also shocked, caught by surprise and unable to express their feelings in human words. Neither I, nor the animals nor the little boy Sylvaince (in the movie), will ever stop being grateful with the ARCH Coalition, mainly enforced by WSPA's (now World Animal Protection) engagement. Today, five years later, we say thanks and thanks again, wishing you could extend our feelings to those animal lovers and protectors who were there with us." 

Download a copy of ‘Healthy animals are key to healthy cities – A case study of the Haiti response’

Also, take a look at our images to see how your support helped us help animals five years ago in Haiti.

For over 50 years, we’ve been there to help animals and communities affected by disasters. Nobody knows when a disaster will strike, please contribute to our disaster relief fund to help us be there when the next disaster happens.

More about